'They would destroy us': Cliftonville must improve to avoid Larne thumping, says McLaughlin
Paddy McLaughlin has warned Cliftonville that any repeat of Tuesday's performance against Bangor will see Larne "destroy" them tomorrow.
Though the Reds made progress to the quarter-finals of the Bet McLean League Cup courtesy of a 3-2 success against the Seasiders, they were disjointed throughout the game and gifted their Premier Intermediate League visitors two goals.
The manager knows that a similar display when Larne visit Solitude will not end with as favourable an outcome for his men.
"The way we played against Bangor, especially in the second-half, was unacceptable," says McLaughlin, who turned 40 yesterday.
"We spoke to the players about it and, to be fair to them, they agreed that we fell a long way short of how we want to perform.
"It doesn't matter who your opponents are or what level they play at, Cliftonville's standards have to be high week in, week out time after time.
"We won't get away with playing like that against Larne because they would destroy us. They're serious operators with a really talented squad and players who can hurt you if you're not fully switched on and playing at your best."
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While the Reds laboured to the last eight of the League Cup, the Invermen fell victim to the upset of the round when they were dumped out by Dundela.
Boss Tiernan Lynch made a raft of changes to his line-up for that encounter and, while many of those likely to be involved tomorrow played no part against the Duns, McLaughlin expects the result itself to spark a reaction from Larne.
"They've been doing well in the league and will want to get themselves back to winning ways after losing in the cup," he adds.
"I'd expect a response from us as well, though, because these are the games you need to win if you want to be up there challenging at the top of the division."