Gerard Lyttle thinks of big job as Cliftonville see off Glentoran
Cliftonville 1-0 Glentoran
Gerard Lyttle is determined to make it impossible for the Cliftonville board to overlook him for the manager's post.
The former Reds midfielder has assumed the reins on an interim basis in the wake of Tommy Breslin's shock departure and his on-the-job audition got off to the perfect start when a late Davy McDaid header earned a 1-0 victory over 10-man Glentoran on Saturday.
Lyttle will return to the dugout for tomorrow night's County Antrim Shield trip to Ballyclare Comrades as well as next weekend's Danske Bank Premiership battle with Ballinamallard United and knows that maintaining a winning sequence will put him in a strong position.
"We were very professional against Glentoran and managed the game well," he said.
"I'm pleased with the win and the clean sheet but the next match isn't long in coming. After Ballyclare, we go to Ballinamallard so it's going to be another busy week for us all."
After Glens defender Marcus Kane picked up a second booking from referee Ross Dunlop, Cliftonville took full advantage of their numerical superiority with McDaid nodding home to secure a first win in five meetings with the east Belfast side -much to Lyttle's obvious satisfaction.
"When I got into coaching and was taking my badges, I always had the Cliftonville job in the back of my mind," he added.
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"That's not to say I was looking to take Tommy's place or anything, it was just something I had as a target somewhere down the line and I certainly wasn't expecting the chance to come along this soon, but getting this first week, first match and first win out of the road is a big relief. I think we all just wanted to get this one over and done with because it's been a difficult week.
"The players have been great, though. They were disappointed to see Tommy go but they went straight onto the training pitch and got tore in and they've been focused on the game.
"We'll be back in on Monday to prepare for Ballyclare and, much as I'd love to sit down and talk to the chairman about getting the job, the most important thing is getting results so hopefully we can build on this win and take it with us into the rest of the week and beyond."
Glentoran manager Eddie Patterson's frustrations stretched beyond the result.
He was perturbed by Kane's dismissal, reasonably arguing that challenges similar to those the full-back had been cautioned for had gone unpunished elsewhere, and has no sorrows to seek as far as his absentees list goes.
Kane will now join new recruit Ciaran Caldwell on the suspensions register for tomorrow's Shield joust with H&W Welders and, though Niall Henderson is back in training after injury, Kym Nelson looks set to be ruled out until Christmas with a broken foot in addition to fellow midfielder David Howland contemplating retirement at the age of just 29.
"David has had a recurrence of his knee injury and he's going to take a break from things while he considers whether he wants to attempt another comeback or call it a day altogether," said Patterson.
"He finds himself in a lot of pain after matches, struggling to walk and he's had another setback that's left him wondering where he goes from here."
One bright spot for the Glens this weekend, however, was the performance of rookie midfield talent Jonathan Smith, who made his first start for the club against the Reds.
"He's only 18 years of age but he has serious talent," added Patterson.
"He didn't do too badly but I know there's more to come."
CLIFTONVILLE: Devlin, McGovern, Bonner, Flynn, Curran, McMullan, McDaid, Garrett, M Donnelly, Seydak, Catney. Subs: Knowles (McMullan, 20 mins), Brennan, C Murray (McDaid, 88 mins), M Murray (Curran, 57 mins), J Donnelly.
GLENTORAN: Hogg, Garrett, Kane, Holland, Magee, Scullion, Allen, McCaffrey, McAlorum, Gordon, Smith. Subs: Morris, Birney, Addis (McCaffrey, 75 mins), McMenamin (Scullion, 46 mins), McCullough (Smith, 75 mins).
Man of the match: Willie Garrett
Match rating: 6/10
Referee: Ross Dunlop (Carrickfergus)