Belfast Telegraph

Cliftonville's success stems from united front behind boss, says Chris Curran

Glenavon 1 Cliftonville 2

Chris Curran
Chris Curran
Adam McKendry

By Adam McKendry

Captain Chris Curran believes Cliftonville's recent good form stems from the entire squad buying into manager Paddy McLaughlin's vision for the team this season.

The Reds made it five Premiership wins in a row and stayed just a point behind early pacesetters Coleraine with a 2-1 win at Glenavon thanks to Ruaidhri Donnelly's second-half stunner.

Joe Gormley's third-minute opener was cancelled out by Andrew Hall's leveller midway through the first-half, but Donnelly curled in a peach from 25 yards to hand Cliftonville all three points at Mourneview Park.

And Curran, who was outstanding in the victory in pulling the strings from midfield, believes this excellent run has come from the whole squad backing the work that McLaughlin is trying to implement.

"We're training three times a week and we work for a long time on those three nights, so (McLaughlin) has a lot of time to get his points across and get his ideas over," says Curran.

"We started early because of the European campaign, which has probably helped too. We've just been listening to what he's had to say and we're trying to put it into practice on a Saturday, and I think up to this point it's been working."

Cliftonville were good value for their win and, in truth, it could have been even more given their second-half dominance, with only two last-ditch blocks from Caolan Marron and Robert Garrett denying Gormley and Garry Breen respectively.

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The win, however, was forged in midfield, where Curran and partners Ronan Doherty and Liam Bagnall were at the heart of everything good that the visitors did.

While much has been made of the various options McLaughlin has at his disposal up front, it was a team effort that got them over the line in Lurgan.

"The easiest thing to do is to get the ball to players around you who have quality, and I look around me and see players like Ronan Doherty, Joe Gormley, Ryan Curran, Ruaidhri Donnelly - we're blessed with talent in there," praised Curran.

"Every time I get the ball it feels like the easiest job in the world because they're so good at making space and giving you options. It's actually getting easier the older I get because the players around me are so good.

"Ronan's brilliant, I can't speak highly enough of him, and when Bags comes in it gives me more freedom to go forward, whereas in the last few weeks he's been missing and I've had to be more defensive.

"Ronan's a really special player for us, I'm excited to see how he develops because he's still a young lad."

GLENAVON: Taylor, Harmon, Larmour, Singleton (Marron, 59 mins), Burns (Murray, 79 mins), Hall, Marshall, Garrett, Beggs, Jenkins, Hamilton (Mitchell, 27 mins). Unused subs: Doyle, McCloskey, Hunter, Wearen.

CLIFTONVILLE: Brush, Foster, Breen, Harney, A Donnelly, Doherty (Wilson, 90 mins), Bagnall, C Curran, R Donnelly, Gormley (Gorman, 87 mins), R Curran. Unused subs: Dunne, McDermott, McKee, Maguire, Casey.

Referee: Keith Kennedy (Lisburn)

Man of the Match: Chris Curran

Match Rating: 7/10

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