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Nobody can question Linfield's title credentials after Premiership win, says chairman

 

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Linfield's Andy Waterworth celebrates with the Gibson Cup last year.

Linfield's Andy Waterworth celebrates with the Gibson Cup last year.

Linfield's Andy Waterworth celebrates with the Gibson Cup last year.

Linfield chairman Roy McGivern says his side's title credentials cannot be questioned after the Blues were awarded the league title.

The south Belfast side were four points above title rivals Coleraine when play was suspended at the end of March and have, after the final standings were decided on a points per game basis, been given a world-record-equalling 54th Irish League crown.

It was far from a normal end to the campaign but nonetheless, McGivern is adamant his side are worthy winners.

“Our manager, players and staff deserve enormous credit for their achievements this season," he said.

"We were playing catch-up in the League after our incredible European run at the start of the season but we had put ourselves in an excellent position to retain the title before the pandemic struck to halt sport and many aspects of our normal lives.

"We had established a four point lead over our closest rivals Coleraine but were also ten points ahead of Crusaders in third place so I don’t think anyone can question our title credentials.

“I would pay tribute to Coleraine who pushed us so hard this season and unfortunately we were all denied what could have been a very exciting climax to the season.

"I am sure that they and other clubs will come back stronger to challenge us next season and we look forward to getting back to football, with our loyal fans in attendance, in the not too distant future.”

It's a third title in four years for the Blues and a sixth major trophy under manager David Healy.

At the other end of the table, Institute have been relegated despite being three points behind Warrenpoint with what would have been seven games left to play in normal circumstances.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, they have been one of the clubs to register their disappointment at the conclusion to the campaign.

"From day one, I advocated that I didn't think any club should be punished unfairly, or lose out, because they were stopping the league," said manager Sean Connor earlier this week.

"We investigated a 14-team league. That way you were rewarding the teams below the league who had fought to get promoted, and you weren't punishing the teams that were at the bottom."

Belfast Telegraph