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On rise: Johnny McMurray has been in top form

On rise: Johnny McMurray has been in top form

Stephen Hamilton/Inpho

On rise: Johnny McMurray has been in top form

Striker Johnny McMurray admits he is loving life since making the move to Larne.

The 24-year-old, who joined the ambitious Inver Park club from Ballymena United in the summer, believes he is reaping the benefits of full-time football.

Having been promoted from the Championship, Tiernan Lynch's boys have mingled with the big hitters in the Danske Bank Premiership without being overawed.

Even though they have been wrestled out of the title race - they trail fifth-placed Coleraine by nine points - McMurray has promised a big second half to the season.

"The league is so competitive," said the former Cliftonville and Warrenpoint Town man. "Over the past decade or so, Crusaders have had a few years at the top and Cliftonville the same, while Linfield were never far away.

"It's been a two-horse race on many occasions, but this season we've seen the emergence of Glentoran, who have joined the likes of the Crues, Linfield, Coleraine and the Reds.

"Unfortunately, we have fallen off the pace a bit. I think we've had too many drawn games.

"But the boss insists we are only a short way down the road to where we want to go. The club has just come up from the Championship, it's a process.

"Everyone thinks it's only a matter of throwing money at it since Kenny (Bruce) has come on board. If you want to build something, you must start with a solid foundation at the bottom.

"After that, it's a matter of building and building, which will hopefully take us to where we want to be."

With a trip to Seaview to face title-chasing Crusaders this afternoon, McMurray admits he is relishing the challenge.

"We had a good win against Carrick Rangers in our last league game," he added. "We go into the game with plenty of confidence.

"Games have been quite tight against them. There have been fine margins in many matches, which has cost us points.

"We just need a little bit of fine-tuning, whether it's staying in the mix long enough or learning how to finish teams off.

"Joining Larne has been a great move for me. (Playing full-time) is something I always wanted to do."

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