Belfast Telegraph

Cliftonville will always deliver, says Barry Johnston

By Stuart McKinley

Cliftonville midfielder Barry Johnston has declared that he and his team-mates will never suffer a crisis of confidence.

And it's all down to the firepower of deadly duo Liam Boyce and Joe Gormley.

The Reds' defence of the Irish League title has got off to a stuttering start and already they have lost three times – the same number of defeats they had prior to clinching the Gibson Cup last season.

Johnston, however, has put last Saturday's 1-0 loss at Glenavon down as a 'freak' result.

"With the forwards that we have in the squad confidence will never be an issue," said Johnston.

"Liam Boyce and Joe Gormley are both class acts, we have faith in them that we will score goals and against Glenavon it was a freak game.

"Liam and Joe both missed chances that they would put away in nine games out of 10 and I don't think it will be long before they are back on form."

Although their form hasn't been as consistent as it was last season the Reds are only two points behind leaders Glenavon after eight games.

With 30 matches still to be played and a squad packed with quality – as well as players who now know what it takes to win a league title – nobody at Solitude is panicking.

"Everyone is beating each other so far, which has helped us," said Johnston.

"Nobody is going on the kind of lengthy winning run that we went on last season that allowed us to open up a gap at the top.

"It's all about trying to hang in there and then push on after Christmas.

"We know how to do that having done it before and we'll have the belief that we can do it again."

e NORTHERN Ireland's under-19 girls finished their European Championship qualifying series with a 4-1 win over hosts Latvia.

Laura Rafferty, Amy McGivern and Moya Feehan scored, plus an own goal, to give Alfie Wylie's girls the win, but two earlier defeats had already ended their qualification hopes.

Belfast Telegraph

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