| 3.9°C Belfast

Larne set to rotate in bid to stay top over Christmas after win over Linfield

Larne 3 Linfield 1


Thumbs up: Larne manager Tiernan Lynch was a happy man after their win over Linfield on Friday night

Thumbs up: Larne manager Tiernan Lynch was a happy man after their win over Linfield on Friday night

Thumbs up: Larne manager Tiernan Lynch was a happy man after their win over Linfield on Friday night

Larne boss Tiernan Lynch has already consigned Friday night's win over Linfield to the history books as he looks to build on their impressive start to the season.

The 3-1 victory over David Healy's side, in which they had to come from behind after Shayne Lavery's early stunner, gave Larne a four-point cushion at the top of the Danske Bank Premiership.

It made it 26 points from a possible 30 on offer, with the County Antrim Shield also in the possession of the so-far unbeaten Inver Park club.

However, Lynch is looking forward and not backward. That means his focus on Saturday's trip to Shamrock Park to take on Portadown.

It begins a busy spell of four games in 14 days over the festive period, with Lynch planning to utilise his squad.

"Friday is over, the players had the weekend off but it's back to work on Monday," Lynch said.

"We focus on Portadown now and we give them the same focus in our preparation that we did for Linfield.

"You have to have an eye on the whole squad when you come to a busy period like all the clubs will face now. There's too much talent in the squad not to rotate when necessary.

"The way we play and the intensity we try to play with it's difficult to play the same 11 players in every match. With the talent it makes sense to rotate and see where it takes us."

The victory in Friday's top-of-the-table clash made it three wins out of three against Linfield in 2020.

However, they needed second-half goals from Graham Kelly, Marty Donnelly and a late Davy McDaid penalty to earn the victory.

Lynch heaped praise on his players for showing the belief to come back against the Blues.

"I couldn't be more proud of the players," he added.

"We lost our way a little bit for a while in the first half, but I thought we dominated at the start then had that wee spell where we lost our way and found it again to dominate.

"I thought our game management was superb. We played like a team towards the end who have been managing situations like this for years.

"We're very fortunate with this group because you don't need to scream and shout at them. When they're not playing at the level they're capable of they know themselves.

"No-one is more disappointed than them, but we regrouped and went again. Once we got the equaliser you could tell the confidence grew from there."

Despite knowing a draw would have kept them at the summit, Lynch insists it never crossed their mind to settle for a point once they pulled it back to 1-1, with half an hour left to play.

"A point is no good to this team. You take a point if you're not playing overly well and you need to get through it but, for me, this team isn't built like that," he insisted.

"There's too much talent in this team to sit in and hold on for a point. We want to get on the ball and we want to play.

"We have a go and if it's good enough great and if not, then we come back in on Monday and work on it."

Belfast Telegraph