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'A lot of nonsense': Paddy McLaughlin disappointed at Cliftonville critics as manager backs squad following win over Larne

Cliftonville 1-0 Larne

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Ronan Doherty celebrates with Ryan Curran after scoring the winning goal.

Ronan Doherty celebrates with Ryan Curran after scoring the winning goal.

Man on: Rory Hale tracks Fuad Sule at Solitude

Man on: Rory Hale tracks Fuad Sule at Solitude

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Ronan Doherty celebrates with Ryan Curran after scoring the winning goal.

Paddy McLaughlin believes his Cliftonville players have been subject to some unfair stick and hopes Saturday's morale-boosting victory over Larne serves as a reminder of their qualities.

Ronan Doherty's fifth minute strike set the Reds on their way and, despite the anguish of recent late collapses still lingering in the memory, McLaughlin's men limited their visitors to very few openings over the course of the afternoon.

Dogged by inconsistency this season, the Cliftonville boss admits his side should not be immune to criticism but has called for some perspective to be taken into consideration.

"We've conceded a few late goals and people keep reminding us about it, but the performances and work rate have been there and it's good to see the players getting a wee bit of credit because I think people are quick to jump on their back and criticise them," he said.

"Any praise they get, they fully deserve because they've had to listen to a lot of nonsense from the outside world. It's part of things at Cliftonville that people outside the club are quick to jump on their backs and it's disappointing when you see some of the people who are doing that.

"If you read into it or listen to it too much, it would get you down. We try to protect them from it as best we can.

"Sometimes when you open yourself up for criticism, you deserve it but I don't think the amount of criticism our boys have faced has been anywhere near fair.

"The injuries we've had haven't been normal, we've had so many long-term ones. Even the defence alone, we've had a back four sitting in the stand. Conor McDermott, Jamie Harney, Garry Breen and Ryan O'Reilly have all been injured for long spells, then you've Levi Ives who has been out as well.

"Breen and O'Reilly shouldn't be anywhere near the pitch at the minute but they've put their bodies on the line and I'm delighted for them that they got a clean sheet because they deserved it. It was a great team performance and a great team effort but I thought the two centre-halves were superb.

"It was a good win but it's only three points and we're quickly looking to Ballymena on Tuesday night.

"It's a frantic time of year with all these games and there are ice-packs being handed out like sweets in our changing room but that's the schedule and we have to deal with it."

Opposite number Tiernan Lynch admitted his side were far from their best but tipped them to bounce back.

"We didn't get going," he said. "We didn't play the football we wanted to play or do the things we had worked on.

"We'll have a sit down on Monday and we'll look at it again and get ready to be better next time."

CLIFTONVILLE: McCarey, Breen, O'Reilly, C Curran, R Curran, Donnelly, Bagnall, Doherty (Coffey, 70 mins), Hale, Lowe, O'Neill (O'Connor, 86 mins). Unused subs: Dunne, McCrudden, Foster, Casey, Kearns.

LARNE: Devlin, Kelly, Watson, Sule, Randall (McKendry, 85 mins), Hale, Mottley-Henry (McDaid, 61 mins), Cosgrove, Hughes, Jarvis, McMurray (Herron, 67 mins). Unused subs: C Mitchell, Lynch, A Mitchell, Wade-Slater.

Referee: Keith Kennedy (Lisburn)

Man of the match: Ryan O'Reilly

Match rating: 5/10

Belfast Telegraph


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