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Cliftonville must learn from Oval lesson, warns Lyttle

Gerard Lyttle will send his Cliftonville players onto the Windsor Park pitch with the importance of producing a 90-minute display ringing in their ears.

The Reds were made to pay for switching off against Glentoran on Saturday and, as they shape up for a second meeting with Linfield in a week, Lyttle has called for a positive reaction.

"We have spoken about what happened at the weekend and the players know it's not acceptable," he said.

"Our performance in the first half against the Glens was very good.

"All over the park people stuck to their jobs and did them well. We got our reward by scoring just before the break but, to be honest, we were probably a bit disappointed not to be more than one goal ahead at that stage.

"Glentoran equalised quite quickly in the second half and we were never the same after that. We didn't get anywhere near the levels we'd set ourselves earlier and, as we found out, if you don't put it in for 90 minutes in this league, you'll be punished."

Cliftonville's focus shifts to the County Antrim Shield quarter-finals this evening and, having clocked up a 7-1 defeat of Bangor in the previous round, Lyttle naturally expects a sterner test at the National Stadium just seven days after putting the Blues to the sword on Premiership duty.

The Reds were eliminated from the Shield by David Healy's side at this same stage last season - indeed, this is the fourth time in five years that the teams have locked horns in the regional competition - and Lyttle is determined that bouncing back from their weekend disappointment can be a catalyst for another burst of form.

"Games against Linfield are always as tough as they come, that's just one of the facts down through the years," Lyttle added.

"We played very well against them last week but they worked us hard and battled right up to the end.

"That's what we need to do in every match, no matter who against and no matter what the scoreline. If we can pick up another good result, we can use it as something to build on."

In the battle of the minnows, Championship side PSNI hope to reach the last four of the tournament by overcoming Albert Foundry at Seaview.

Tonight's Toals County Antrim Shield quarter-final fixtures (7.45pm): Albert Foundry v PSNI, Ballymena Utd v Ards, Glentoran v Crusaders, Linfield v Cliftonville.

Belfast Telegraph


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