Philip Lowry returns to the scene of the lowest point of his Linfield career tonight, hoping to take a major step towards achieving the ultimate high.
The Blues were taught a lesson by Cliftonville at Solitude back in September, a result and performance which had manager David Jeffrey enraged.
Lowry describes the Blues’ 4-0 defeat that night as ‘humiliating’ and is promising fans there will be no repeat when Linfield head to north-Belfast again tonight.
Instead Lowry believes that the Windsor Park men are now fulfiling their potential, taking 18 points out of the last 21 available — and it’s the right time of the season to be hitting top form.
Tonight it’s the top two in the Carling Premiership who are going into battle and victory for Linfield would shoot them seven points clear of the Reds with a game in hand. With eight games to go they would then be in a fantastic position to go on and claim the Gibson Cup.
“The game at Cliftonville earlier in the season was a one-off. We didn’t perform and it was difficult to take,” said Lowry.
“We let ourselves down, we were humiliated, but Cliftonville deserved it.
“I remember walking off that night feeling very low; so dejected. It’s the lowest point of our season and therefore the lowest point so far in my time at Linfield.”
There was no knee-jerk reaction from Jeffrey after the Solitude shocker though. He made only two changes for the next game and one of those was enforced as Mark McAllister was suspended after he received a red card.
His decision was justified as Linfield then went 13 games unbeaten and although they wobbled in December and January, the Blues are now back on top form — but the Solitude defeat has yet to be wiped from the memory.
“It still plays on our mind. I don’t know if the manager will mention it before the game this time, but he won’t have to. We haven’t forgotten about it,” said Lowry.
“The manager showed faith in the players by not making wholesale changes and we repaid that by going on a good run.”
And Lowry also wants to associate himself with the likes of William Murphy, Noel Bailie, Michael Gault and Peter Thompson, who have all won numerous medals with the Blues.
“It has taken the new players a while to get used to the expectation level at Linfield,” said the 20-year-old, who signed from Institute last summer.
“I know what the expectation is now and it would be fantastic to win the league in my first season at Linfield.”
Tonight’s Carling Premiership fixtures: Cliftonville v Linfield, Institute v Crusaders, Newry City v Coleraine, Portadown v |Newry City.