Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 5 September 2015

Cliftonville manager Tommy Breslin blasts bigots in the stands

By Keith Bailie

Published 30/10/2013

Cliftonville manager Tommy Breslin watches last night's match against Linfield from the sidelines
Cliftonville manager Tommy Breslin watches last night's match against Linfield from the sidelines

Cliftonville boss Tommy Breslin warned that sectarianism has no place in Northern Ireland football, regardless of who the perpetrators are.

In the 81st minute of Linfield's hugely impressive 4-1 win over Cliftonville in the semi-final of the County Antrim Shield a PA announcement was made informing the crowd that if there was any more sectarian singing the match would be abandoned.

The announcement was made at the request of the match officials.

Reds boss Tommy Breslin said after the game: "To be honest I didn't hear the announcement, but as far as I'm concerned sectarian singing has no place in football, whether it be from Linfield supporters or from our supporters.

"That's not what it's about. You can't come to a football stadium and go down that old road, that road has been trod on before and it's not the future of football in the this country.

"It doesn't matter who you support, you're there to support the team.

"Somebody was going to win tonight, it's been us in the past and it will be us again, but tonight it was Linfield, so I say fair play to them."

Linfield manager David Jeffrey didn't comment on the announcement, preferring to concentrate on the football.

On the field his side put in a tremendous performance, sweeping Cliftonville aside thanks to goals from Matthew Tipton, Michael Carvill and Andrew Waterworth.

Reds captain George McMullan scored twice; one an own goal and then a stoppage time consolation goal.

A delighted David Jeffrey said: "I'm sure a number of people will point to the fact that Cliftonville rotated their squad, but for me that was still a very strong Cliftonville side.

"We showed great resolve and determination and put in a very pleasing performance, but even at 3-0 I didn't feel comfortable, because Cliftonville had so many quality players on display.

"We are very pleased with this result, but we're not getting carried away just yet.

"The County Antrim Shield is a competition that we haven't won in eight years and we were disappointed to lose the final in the manner which we did last year, so it's a competition we'd like to win this year and we're delighted to be in the final once again.

"Cup semi-finals and finals are all part of the education for the young players we have at this club, who haven't experienced this before. We will look forward to the final regardless of who it is against, it should be a great experience for this young squad."

Reflecting on the 4-1 defeat, Cliftonville boss Breslin said: "Some of the defending today was schoolboy stuff, but at other times we played good football. On another day we could have scored a few more goals but when you give away soft goals you're going to struggle."

Linfield will play either Crusaders or Ballymena United in the final on the December 3.

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