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Ruairi Harkin revels in Bannsiders' system switch


In control: Ruairi Harkin touches possession away from Warrenpoint’s Liam Bagnall

In control: Ruairi Harkin touches possession away from Warrenpoint’s Liam Bagnall

In control: Ruairi Harkin touches possession away from Warrenpoint’s Liam Bagnall

Coleraine's Ruairi Harkin was in chipper form following his side's first Premiership win of the season at their fourth attempt. He produced a man of the match performance to score one and set up another for Gary Browne as the Bannsiders got the better of Warrenpoint Town.

The hosts briefly threatened to get back on level terms after Dermot McVeigh pulled one back only for David Ogilby's 78th minute header to seal all three points for Harkin and co.

"It was important to get that first win, especially coming off the back of a great display against Linfield last week where we didn't get the points," said the midfielder.

"We changed the formation last week and it worked well and we brought that into this match and we're playing well. We looked a lot more solid and, on the counter-attack, we really got at them and I thought we deserved the win.

"We were 2-0 up and then we gave away a soft goal. We should have done better – it gave Warrenpoint a bit of adrenaline for 20 minutes and they were on top.

"It was important that we settled and didn't concede another and we rode it out. They were playing well in the second half and they were on top of us a bit so when big OG (David Ogilby) got that header, it settled us down."

With Davy McDaid off to Cliftonville and the likes of captain Howard Beverland amongst others missing the Warrenpoint match, Harkin, despite only being 24, says it's down to the likes of him and other senior players to lead the way in Oran Kearney's young squad.

"It's up to myself and others to show the young boys and to lead by example," he added.

"We do have a young squad. There are some great players coming through but they're just young so, when they get their chance, it's up to us to show them the way."

The former Derry City man cracked in a brilliant 35-yard free-kick to open the scoring on Saturday and he says it's something he's been practising – and that fellow Derry native Neil McCafferty won't be taking any more of them despite scoring a beauty against Linfield the previous week.

He explained: "I played a reserve match coming back from injury and I took a free-kick from the exact same position and it hit the bar and went in. It was a bit of a different technique this time, I put the laces through it. I think it's the way forward now!

"Nobody is taking free-kicks off me now. I've told McCafferty!" joked Harkin, who got on the end of a McCafferty ball to set up Browne and says he's enjoying a more attacking role this season.

"It's all about the formation really. With Neil coming in, he likes to get on the ball in midfield and that gives me the licence to push forward a bit more.

"For the second goal, I was able to make that third man run and he spotted me. Scoring goals and creating is on the agenda."

Belfast Telegraph