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Big miss won't hit Gormley confidence: McLaughlin

 

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Oh no: Joe Gormley could have won it for Cliftonville

Oh no: Joe Gormley could have won it for Cliftonville

Oh no: Joe Gormley could have won it for Cliftonville

Cliftonville boss Paddy McLaughlin believes striker Joe Gormley is the best in the business.

Although the big man blotted his copybook by missing a glorious chance to nick three vital points in Tuesday's drab north Belfast derby against Crusaders at Seaview, McLaughlin reckons the 30-year-old is getting better with age.

He looked a certain scorer when he pulled a delicious pass from Jamie Harney out of the air but, after taking a sublime touch, managed to screw his shot wide.

"If there was anyone you were going to put your tank on to score, it would have been Joe," confessed former Institute chief McLaughlin. "It proves that he is human.

"He usually takes any chance or half-chance that comes his way. Joe made a brilliant run and took an unbelievable touch.

"I was just waiting for it to hit the net. Unfortunately, it was wide. He probably rushed his shot a little, that's the only thing he did wrong. It was simply a blip because Joe is a master craftsman at putting the ball in the net.

"His all-round game has improved. Joe was the sort of in-behind type of player. That's not the way we try to play.

"We try to build from the back, and he's bought into that. Fair play to him, he is working hard on his game. I'd say the next chance that comes, he will put it in the net.

"Some of the football we played against Crusaders was super. We were brave and we created some good chances. I really thought we deserved all three points."

Both Cliftonville and Crusaders now trail Linfield in the Danske Bank Premiership by 10 points, with only eight games remaining.

"I'm sure the Crues are as disappointed as we are," added McLaughlin. "We want to stay in touch with the leaders as long as we can.

"We only have eight games left and we are 10 points behind - it's a lot to pull back. Linfield are on fire at the minute.

"Fair play to Coleraine, they are staying on their coat tails. The Blues are on a good run and I would expect them to finish the season strongly, but we'll keep fighting until we are mathematically out of it.

"We want to finish as high as we can because there are European places at stake."

The Reds face another monster challenge tomorrow when they travel to face Mick McDermott's Glentoran at The Oval.

McLaughlin added: "The big games keep on coming. It's another massive match. Glentoran are one of the form teams in the league. They are going into the game fresh, not having played in midweek. We've about four or five players nursing injuries after the game at Seaview. They will be struggling for the weekend.

"It's a tough league, there is not much in it between top and bottom. I know Mick well, he's a gentleman. We did the Pro Licence together. He has got Glentoran challenging at the top end of the table.

"We've had a couple of ding-dongs since he has come into the league. It will be good to see him, but once the whistle goes at 3pm he'll be my biggest rival."

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