Cliftonville boss Paddy McLaughlin is hoping for an instant response to the weekend's defeat against Larne when they host Ballymena United this evening (Tuesday, 7.45pm kick-off). 

Josh Robinson’s 95th minute winner condemned the Reds to successive league defeats on the road, but at the home the Solitude men have won three from three and McLaughlin is hoping to extend that run against the Sky Blues. 

“We’re hoping to bounce back straight away,” said McLaughlin. 

“I’m sure the boys will, they’ve been superb in the last 18 months to two years since I’ve been here.

“One thing they’ve got, they always bounce back from disappointments straight away. Hopefully we’ll bounce back on Tuesday night.

“Even though we’ve a few injuries, we’re glad of the game coming straight at us so we can correct a few disappointments that happened here today. It’s a good chance for us to put things right straight away." 

Robinson’s late winner at Inver Park left McLaughlin frustrated after his side had initially weathered a first-half storm, but he feels there are positives to take from aspects of the performance. 

“When you work so hard in open play to nullify the threat, it's frustrating” he reflected. 

“Larne have got so much talent and we nullified that right throughout the match and to be done by a set-piece in the last kick of the game is really frustrating, but we’ll learn from it and improve.

“If we take how hard we worked and how well we kept our shape against a really strong Larne side, there are strong positives. I know at the end of the day the most important thing is the result but there are a lot of positives to come away from today’s game and that’s what we’ll concentrate on." 

Although McLaughlin wasn’t keen to pick out an individual for stand-out praise he acknowledged that Richard Brush was in fine form in Saturday's defeat and hopes the 'keeper is now back to his best. 

“Brushy in my opinion last year was the best goalkeeper in the league,” McLaughlin insists. 

“He proves that on a weekly basis and hopefully that’s him back to that kind of form. I thought he was superb but so was everyone else. They were all excellent right throughout the match and it’s hard to pick anyone out for individual praise but if you were you’d have to give Brushy a mention. He’s pulled off a couple of really top-drawer saves but all the players were excellent." 

Aaron Donnelly remains a doubt for this evening's clash with Ballymena. McLaughlin named the makeshift midfielder on the bench and introduced him after an hour but was forced to withdraw him after picking up a fresh knock. 

“He’s just back from one injury and went off with a fresh injury,” revealed McLaughlin. 

“It’s something we’ve had from the start of the season with the intensity of the games and so many games - it has definitely stretched our squad.

"For so early in the season with five or six weeks in and we’ve got an injury list of eight or nine men, it’s frustrating and disappointing for the individuals and team. We haven’t got the biggest squad as it is, so when you lose two or three it’s bad enough but when you’re losing six or seven it’s a major concern."