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Tommy Breslin's Euro warning as Cliftonville's poor form continues

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Cliftonville manager Tommy Breslin

Cliftonville manager Tommy Breslin

Cliftonville manager Tommy Breslin

Tommy Breslin says Cliftonville can kiss their European ambitions goodbye unless there's a dramatic improvement in their home form.

The Reds' latest Solitude setback came with Saturday's defeat to Glenavon, when the outgoing Champions ran out of time to cancel out the visitors' three-goal advantage.

Two disputed penalties - one converted by Glenavon's Kevin Braniff and the other missed by Joe Gormley - ultimately proved crucial, with Eoin Bradley and Braniff pouncing to extend the Lurgan Blues' advantage ahead of Martin Donnelly and James Knowles offering hope of a late fightback.

Cliftonville now find themselves two points behind Portadown and, though fourth place could yet be enough for Europa League football depending on the outcome of next weekend's Irish Cup semi-finals, both Glentoran and Glenavon have lifted themselves to within touching distance.

"I've purposely not even looked at our record at Solitude this year because it's been so poor but it needs to improve between now and the end of the season," said Breslin.

"Four of our six remaining matches are at home and, if we want to qualify for Europe, it's obvious how important it is we pick up as many of the 18 points left available as possible."

Opposite number Gary Hamilton - who must now contend without inspirational midfielder Shane McCabe after the 33-year-old quit the club over increasing work commitments - insisted his side harbour no continental ambitions despite just five points separating third and sixth in the Premiership standings.

"That's not something we're looking at," he said. "Our aim was to make sure we qualified for the top six and we've done that, now we'll be looking to consolidate fifth and whatever happens after that happens."

Belfast Telegraph