Belfast Telegraph

Cliftonville must prove doubters wrong in front of Sky cameras, blasts Gray

By Graham Luney

Cliftonville manager Barry Gray will call on his players to show their mettle and avoid another horror show in front of the Sky Sports cameras tonight.

Glenavon travel to Solitude for the re-arranged Premiership fixture (7:45pm) and with the television cameras in north Belfast, there will be no place to hide for a Reds team that suffered an embarrassing 6-4 defeat at basement side Ballinamallard United on Friday night.

The Ferney Park display was labelled a "complete and utter disgrace" by Gray and it sparked more anxiety among the Red Army who have watched their side win only one of their last six Premiership clashes.

Gray will call on his men to put some pride back into the Cliftonville jersey tonight, saying: "We all have to take collective responsibility, it is not one that I will wash my hands of.

"We need to get back to doing what we're good at and being consistent with it. No matter the result, I've always said we're a work in progress and we must never over-react to setbacks, but the players know and I know that there's a level that has to be met."

Gray fumed after the Mallards shocker:“The message (to the players) is very simple. Watch the door doesn’t hit you on the way out,” said Gray. “It’s proving the doubters right who said that the players here don’t have the right mentality.”

The Lurgan Blues also go into the game disappointment they didn’t taste that winning feeling on Friday night. A battling Warrenpoint Town side grabbed a precious point in a 3-3 draw at Mourneview Park.

“We probably had more chances, which you’d expect from the home team, but at the end of the day football’s about taking the chances and not making mistakes and we made a few mistakes,” Glenavon boss Gary Hamilton (below) said.

“If you’d told me that we’d score three goals at home I’d expect to win the game but we didn’t and that was through our own fault and good play from Warrenpoint.

“We go to Solitude and there’s no difference for either side; they’ve played Friday night and so have we. We’ve got the opportunity to go there and play with the energy that we did at Windsor last week. Hopefully, the boys rest up and be ready for Monday night.

“I always say to the boys what an opportunity it is to play in front of the Sky cameras and put in a really good performance, individually and as a team and show people how good a player you are first and foremost and secondly as a team — there’s no pressure; it’s a great occasion.

“Cliftonville’s a top team as well and they have an abundance of forward players who can score goals so we have to make sure we’re on our game.”

A win would see Cliftonville move two points behind Hamilton’s third-placed side, having played a game less. Glenavon are now 13 points behind second-placed Bannsiders, but with two games in hand.

Cliftonville vs Glenavon

Danske Bank Premiership:

Solitude, Tonight, 7.45pm

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