Catney woe mars win, says new dad McClean
Crusaders 1-0 Cliftonville
It's not every day you become a father for the first time and then help your team win a north Belfast derby.
That's why Crusaders' unsung hero Craig McClean was lapping up all the congratulatory pats on the back on Saturday.
Just a few hours after his girlfriend Rose gave birth to baby Toby, proud father Craig was back at Seaview having a rattle at Cliftonville.
Michael Carvill's second-half winner made it an even more perfect day for left-back McClean, who confessed his pre-match preparations took a dramatic turn.
"It's not my usual routine I must say," admitted McClean.
"I went to bed at 10pm as normal but then I got a nudge with Rose saying she felt a few contractions.
"We left the house at just after 3am and Toby McClean was here at 7.30am on Saturday morning, so job done!
"I felt if things developed quickly I could still make the game and she agreed with me. She's a good girl!"
The derby's big talking point was the horror injury sustained by Reds midfielder Ryan Catney after a late and crunching challenge on Howard Beverland in the 25th minute.
Referee Andrew Davey, after consulting with his assistant, showed Catney the red card as he was being stretchered off with his right leg clearly twisted out of shape.
Catney has had surgery in hospital and Beverland said yesterday: "There have been a number of unfair words aimed at our players in the reactions after the tackle. Myself and Ryan both know what happened out there, there's no hard feelings and I don't hold a grudge."
McClean added: "I saw the tackle and I thought it was a red card, it was very late but when I saw his leg I knew something was seriously wrong.
"It takes the shine off the result because the most important thing is people's health.
"We still had a job to do and thankfully we won the game.
"I enjoy talking about the title race and there's still a long way to go.
"One win for Linfield and a defeat for us and it's game on.
"Cliftonville with 10 men made it very difficult for us and we just have to chalk off the games and keep winning.
"The more success you get the more you want, it drives you on.
"In my eyes the pressure is at the bottom of the league like when I was at Dungannon, this is to be enjoyed.
"Glenavon will be tough next week as well, as every game is.
"We will prepare the same way with the same work-rate and determination to go again and hopefully win."
It wasn't a game of several clear cut chances but the best move produced the goal as Jordan Forsythe's precise pass picked out Carvill, who trapped the ball superbly and placed it beyond keeper Peter Burke in the 55th minute.
Catney's injury is a hammer blow to the Reds but, while it was a defeat which also came at a heavy cost, Gerard Lyttle's side did show great spirit with Chris Curran leading the resistance.
"I felt we dug in and fought for those 70 minutes with 10 men," said Lyttle. "We were positive and created chances.
"Obviously we had to adjust our game plan but we tried to push forward and I'm gutted for the boys because they showed passion, desire and impressive work-rate.
"It was pleasing for me as a manager to see that and the only way is up if that continues.
"In times we have played Crusaders we have been unlucky with decisions and injuries and suspensions.
"We've never had a fully fit team against them but we were strong here and I'd love to have seen us with 11 men for the whole game as the boys were up for it and trained really well.
"They were ready for anything thrown at them but unfortunately decisions went against us at Seaview again, leaving us coming away with nothing."
CRUSADERS: O'Neill, Burns, Beverland, Keane, McClean, Caddell (Lowry, 46 mins), Forsythe, Carvill, Heatley, Whyte, Owens. Unused subs: Dougherty, Mitchell, Clarke, Cushley.
Cliftonville: Burke, McGovern, Ives, McGuinness, Curran, McDaid (Winchester, 31 mins), M Donnelly (Lavery, 62 mins), Hughes, Catney, Cosgrove, Nelson. Unused subs: Mooney, McNicholl, Finnegan.