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Title talk outside Crusaders bubble doesn't concern me, maintains Baxter

Crusaders 3 Larne 0

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Two good: Stephen Baxter toasts Jamie McGonigle

Two good: Stephen Baxter toasts Jamie McGonigle

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Two good: Stephen Baxter toasts Jamie McGonigle

Crusaders appear to be hitting top form at just the right time as the title race hots up, but boss Stephen Baxter isn't paying much attention to outside voices.

A 3-0 win at home to Larne on Saturday - courtesy of two Jamie McGonigle strikes either side of a Jordan Owens header - saw Baxter's men move into second place in the table, ahead of Linfield and Cliftonville.

After recording just one win in their first five games in December, the Seaview outfit have now chalked up four Danske Bank Premiership victories in a row.

Baxter, though, isn't taking too much notice of what the neutrals, or indeed pundits, think.

"I don't really get too fussed around what other people have got to say," he maintained.

"Whether they think we are good, bad or indifferent, it doesn't make a lot of difference to me.

"It's really just a matter of trying to make sure people are fit and fresh, competing, and what other people have to say about it, I don't really care to be honest.

"We are just happy to be out on a football pitch giving our lot and if, at the end of the season, we can put a trophy in the cabinet then brilliant.

"If not, then we'll say we gave our best and we know we haven't short changed our fans in any way and we never do."

During what is turning out to be a five-way title race, Baxter is refusing to get carried away.

"The games are topsy turvy, all the teams are capable of beating each other, which keeps it very interesting," he added.

CRUSADERS: Doherty, Burns, Lowry, McGonigle (McElroy, 85 mins), Caddell, Forsythe, O'Rourke, Owens, Brown, Thompson, Heatley. Unused subs: O'Neill, Hegarty, Beverland, Cushley, Ruddy, Clarke.

Larne: Devlin, Flowers, Kelly, Watson, Sule, McDaid, Donnelly (Randall, 46 mins), Cosgrove, Hughes, Jarvis, McMurray.Unused subs: Mitchell, Ramsey, Tilney, Lynch, Andrade.

Referee: Ross Dunlop (Carrickfergus)

Man of the match: Jordan Owens

Match rating: 7/10

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