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Cliftonville urged to hit back after Crusaders defeat

By Conor McLaughlin

Jason McGuinness says Cliftonville cannot allow a madcap 25 minutes to derail the significant improvements they have made in recent weeks.

The skipper was as stunned as anyone by how the Reds crumbled from 3-0 up against Crusaders last weekend but insists there were plenty of plus points to take from their 4-3 derby day defeat.

"It's difficult to explain what happened because we went from being in such control to completely collapsing," he admitted.

"Even speaking to some Crusaders fans outside the ground afterwards, they said we had battered them and they couldn't believe what happened in the final 25 minutes or so.

"As a team, we spoke about it and there were some pretty strong words said. Obviously everyone was disappointed but there were positives we can take from the game.

"The way we played for the first hour was a joy. I've been in football for a long time now and there haven't been too many performances I've enjoyed being involved in like that one.

"We got ourselves into a fantastic position by playing Crusaders off the park - and there aren't many teams who do that.

"Obviously the most important thing is to see games out from that position. Of course you should be winning from 3-0 up, but it's something to learn from."

Having seen a three-match winning run ended by that stunning Crues turnaround, Cliftonville will look to get back on track against Carrick Rangers this weekend and McGuinness added: "Play like we did for the first hour last week and nobody can live with us. We just need to have that belief in ourselves that we're good enough to see it out."

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