Devlin fires warning at lacklustre Cliftonville
Conor Devlin feels Cliftonville's slip-up at Glenavon on Saturday "had been coming" and he has urged his team-mates to raise their game or endure a frustrating season.
The champions suffered their third league defeat at the weekend while their conquerors Glenavon jumped to the top of the Danske Bank Premiership.
Fans at Mourneview Park looked on in disbelief as Joe Gormley and Liam Boyce misfired in front of goal and Andy McGrory smashed in the winner for the home side.
That goal came courtesy of an uncharacteristic spill from keeper Devlin following Gareth McKeown's fiercely struck free-kick.
Reds boss Tommy Breslin must now lift his troops off the floor for tonight's County Antrim Shield quarter-final battle with Glentoran at the Oval (7.45pm).
It's a quick opportunity to flush Saturday's frustration out of their system but Devlin insists lessons must be learned from the defeat.
"That result had been coming," said the shot-stopper. "We were slow all over the pitch. It took us too many touches to get the ball down on the grass and we didn't win the ball enough.
"Joe Gormley, Liam Boyce and Marty Donnelly missed a few chances and I dropped the ball, allowing them to score. Hopefully it is just one of those days but we have a great group of lads and we will stick together and keep working hard in training and hopefully it will turn round for us."
Rather than sitting around for too long feeling sorry for themselves, Devlin and co. will have to come up with a plan to win at Glentoran and stay on course to lift a trophy they last won and retained in 2007 and 2008.
"It's good that there's a game so quickly and that we can get back into the swing of things," he added.