Belfast Telegraph

Beating Linfield not a one-off, insists Donegal Celtic boss Kelly

By Stuart McKinley

Paddy Kelly knows what his Donegal Celtic team are capable of. The rest of the Carling Premiership found out just what they could do on the last day of 2010.

DC’s 2-0 defeat of Linfield meant there was more to celebrate at the New Year’s Eve parties in west Belfast than expected and was the highpoint of the season for Kelly’s troops.

With the new campaign starting on Saturday, the manager wants to see that top form produced on a regular basis.

“When we beat Linfield on New Year’s Eve people said it was a one-off result, but it wasn’t a one-off performance,” said Kelly.

“We played really well that day and there were other games when we played as well as that but didn’t get our rewards.

“We struggled for consistency last season and although we were safe at the end of it that lack of consistency was the one thing that kept us down at the bottom of the table.

“It was so bad that we didn’t win two games in a row all season and if you can’t win back-to-back games then you are going to struggle.”

The Hoops survived in the Carling Premiership as Newry City hit the skids and dropped to the Championship.

With only Carrick Rangers capable of replacing them, due to licensing issues, DC’s record of never being relegated still stands and it’s a boast that Kelly isn’t ready to see change.

“We’ve never suffered relegation through what we’ve done on the pitch and although it was a licensing matter that ensured we stayed up, it was licensing that put us down before, so we’ll take that,” said Kelly, whose team host Portadown on Saturday.

“We lacked experience last season and I’ve gone out and brought in players like Robert Robinson, Kevin Keegan, Johnny Harkness and Paul Bradley who have played in the Premiership which will help us.

“We’d no problem scoring goals, but we need to stop conceding silly goals this season — and everyone is to blame for that, not just the defence.

“If we can start off with a clean sheet on Saturday then that’ll give us a good start.”

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