In-form Glentoran eyeing route to Europe after Cliftonville victory
Cliftonville 0-2 Glentoran
Alan Kernaghan believes the momentum Glentoran have generated in recent weeks can carry them in good stead during the forthcoming Europa League play-offs.
Saturday's 2-0 defeat of Cliftonville at Solitude stretched the east Belfast side's unbeaten streak to five games and lifted them to within three points of Coleraine - with whom they are vying for home advantage in next month's continental shoot-out.
"We're doing well, we're in good form and we want to keep that going," said Kernaghan.
"You have to take care of each game as it comes along but you're also doing it with a bit of an eye on the play-offs as well. We've played Coleraine twice in the last few weeks, so that will have been a help.
"We've had them watched again today and we'll keep doing everything we can to ensure we're as prepared as we possibly can be when the game comes around. That sort of thing is going on in the background all the time, with little bits of research being added to what we've already got and what we already know about them.
"Our target at the minute is to catch them in the league and we're only three points behind now, so we've made pretty good ground."
After withstanding considerable Cliftonville pressure in the first-half, the Glens made the breakthrough when Marcus Kane became the latest player to benefit from the Reds' lassez faire approach to defending corner kicks, before Curtis Allen sealed the points with a smart back-post conversion with 20 minutes remaining.
"Defending set-pieces, and especially corners, have been our Achilles heel," said home boss Gerard Lyttle.
"If you look at what happened in the space of a minute, we've had a corner which Marc Smyth has got on the end of but he was just unable to direct his header beneath the bar. Just after that, there's a corner at the other end and we're behind.
"We've not dealt with high balls into our box time and time again this season, but it's something we work on in training all the time."
CLIFTONVILLE: Burke, Ives, Flynn, McMullan, McDaid, Garrett, Brennan, Smyth, Winchester, J Donnelly, Hughes. Subs: Bonner, Curran (Winchester, 59 mins), M Donnelly (Smyth, 69 mins), Murray (McDaid, 72 mins), Catney.
GLENTORAN: Morris, Holland, Kane, Caldwell, Addis, Gordon, Morrow, Scullion, McCaffrey, Allen, Smith. Subs: Hogg, Nelson, Patton, McCullough (McCaffrey, 72 mins), Gibson.
Man of the match: Marcus Kane
Match rating: 7/10
Referee: Keith Kennedy (Lisburn)