Cliftonville aim to deliver final blow to Glentoran boss Young
There will be no rousing call to arms, no Churchillian speech or words of wisdom from manager Tommy Breslin in the Cliftonville dressing room tonight.
Why would there be?
If the Solitude boss places any stock on the old adage that if something isn’t broken then there is no need to fix it then he’ll continue doing the same things that he has for the last couple of months.
His team are on a fantastic run of form. Record breaking no less. Their 2-1 win over Glentoran in Saturday’s Carling Premiership clash at Solitude bringing Cliftonville’s 11th successive victory in all competitions.
If that becomes 12 tonight then Breslin will be celebrating his first silverware in management.
Glentoran are the opponents again, this time at the Oval in the final of the Paddy Power County Antrim Shield and Breslin is more likely to open the dressing room door and give his men a pat on the back as they go through it than bark out any stirring caveat.
“The message is simple, they are good footballers and when they have the ball I want them to go and express themselves,” said Breslin who will be without the suspended George McMullan.
“When they don’t have it I want them to work hard to get it back and they have done that. There’s no magic formula.
“Probably all I’ll say to them is ‘more of the same please.”
Indeed, more of the same would suit Breslin and the Red Army of Cliftonville fans just nicely as the 2008 winners go up against the team that won the competition this time last year.
“I just want everything to go well and for it to be a good occa
sion,” said Breslin. “We are two teams who like to play good football, although Saturday’s match was probably spoilt a little bit by the conditions.
“I want the players to go out and give a good account of themselves, although they’ve been doing that lately. I just hope we haven’t peaked too soon and although the expectation level has gone through the roof our confidence has risen too.”
So just how does Glens boss Scott Young go about stopping the rampant Reds?
Well, he hasn’t managed to do it this season, with Breslin’s boys getting the better of the east-Belfast men in both league meetings.
“We need to do better than on Saturday,” said Young, who as a patriotic Scot will be hoping to spark St Andrew’s Day celebrations slightly earlier than his compatriots across the Irish Sea.
“Of course we want to repeat what we did last season, but we’re under no illusions as to how tough a game this will be. Last year it was great to beat Linfield in the final and not many teams will do that in their backyard.
“Cliftonville are on a hell of a run and although they beat us on Saturday with what was an own goal and the last kick of the game they did deserve to win it.
“They’ve beaten us twice and although both times they scored late goals, I’m honest enough to admit that they deserved to win both times.”
The Shield continues to be knocked, but Young remains a big fan. “It was the first medal I won as a player and you don’t forget you’re first medal at a club like Glentoran,” said Young.
“I’ve happy memories of the competition and last year too as it was my first trophy as a manager, so it’s quite special to me.”