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Lindsay expecting to receive huge response from Cliftonville to get European dream back on track

 

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Left helpless: Cliftonville players can only look on as Ruaidhri Donnelly scores for Glentoran

Left helpless: Cliftonville players can only look on as Ruaidhri Donnelly scores for Glentoran

Kris Lindsay

Kris Lindsay

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Left helpless: Cliftonville players can only look on as Ruaidhri Donnelly scores for Glentoran

Kris Lindsay says a benefit of the Danske Bank Premiership's hectic fixture schedule is that you don't have long to stew over a poor result - and believes Cliftonville will react positively to Tuesday's home reverse at the hands of Glentoran.

The Reds coach says he will welcome the players to Solitude for an upbeat training session this evening as they prepare for Saturday's final pre-split encounter with Carrick Rangers and a run-in where he predicts plenty of "twists and turns".

The former Dungannon Swifts boss said: "The boys are disappointed but it's important they don't get too down.

"We have massive games coming up and the good thing about the league this year is that you always have games coming thick and fast, so we've now turned our full focus to Carrick on Saturday.

"As I said to the players, in this league you're right to be disappointed to lose games and it's right that you don't like it, but it's important you don't lose two games in a row, so we'll get the spirits lifted, we'll have a good session on Thursday and we'll be ready to go again against Carrick, try to get another three points on the board and hopefully move closer to the teams above us."

The nature of the post-split schedule - which is set to be confirmed by the NI Football League following Saturday's fixtures - means teams in and around one another are certain to drop points, providing a pathway up the standings for any side able to string a good run together.

As well as the guaranteed European place carried by the runners-up spot, clubs will also be jockeying for position to ensure home advantage should they find themselves participating in June's play-offs for the Europa Conference League.

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That, says Lindsay, should be enough to focus the minds of any of Paddy McLaughlin's players still smarting from a first Solitude loss in four months.

"There are six league games left and there are going to be plenty more twists and turns," he added.

"Teams are going to take points off each other. Our season is still building and we want to finish as high as we can - whether that be automatic European qualification or finishing as high up as we can to get a home tie in the play-offs.

"We don't have time to think too much about the Glentoran game, so it's full focus on Carrick for us and hopefully three points that could lift us up the table."

While a home tie against a side that has won just four Premiership matches all season might appear like a welcome fixture to contest prior to the frantic post-split itinerary, Lindsay is well aware that Carrick are not without motivation of their own. "There might not be any relegation but they'll still not want to finish bottom of the league," he said. "On top of that, players will be playing for their futures there and Niall Currie will demand that they fight until the end of the season.

"They've had some good results against teams in the top half so, as confident as we are in our own ability, we'll certainly not be taking anything for granted."


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