Murray in warning to Cliftonville’s old hands
Peter Murray says Cliftonville have yet to show their true quality so far this season but admits he's excited by the prospect of the team clicking into top gear.
Murray, back on the Reds' coaching staff as part of Tommy Breslin's backroom team, was renowned for his magical midfield displays during his time as a player with Cliftonville, Portadown and Ballymena United, and says the class of 2011 have the potential to leave a lasting impression on the club's history.
“For a lot of the players here, it's the last roll of the dice for them and we're challenging them to grasp the opportunity with both hands,” he said.
“There are a lot of youngsters knocking on the door of the first team and, while that's great as far as competition for places is concerned, what we want is for the senior players to be stripped of any notion that their place in the side is safe.
“If you look right across our squad, we have two and sometimes three guys for every position and keeping the jersey is going to be a big ask for anyone.”
Cliftonville began the new Carling Premiership campaign with a nervy and laborious home victory over Carrick Rangers — “an understandable difficulty”, given Carrick's desire to impress on their first since since promotion says Murray — were similarly sluggish for long stretches of last week's |1-1 draw with Coleraine and ‘Minto' is at a loss to explain why.
“We had a very good pre-season, both in terms of performances and results,” he added.
“It's strange that we haven't carried that with us into the new season. Obviously the standard of teams we're up against is higher but I've kept an eye on the teams we played over the summer and they've all started their own seasons pretty well.
“We had emphatic wins against Banbridge Town and Bangor, both of whom are doing OK in the early weeks of the Championship, and Stirling Albion have a 100 per cent record in the Scottish Second Division. We beat them 3-2 but anyone who was at the game will tell you we should have been out of sight by half-time.
“If we can produce those kind of performances against teams who are doing reasonably well for themselves, then we should have the confidence to express ourselves more freely in our own League matches.”