TUESDAY’S victory over Ards was as straight-forward as it needed to be and, though it would have been nice to have got out of first gear entertainment-wise, the most important thing was booking our place in the next round of the competition.

We were subsequently the first team out of the hat in Wednesday’s draw and will once again have home advantage when we tackle Dungannon Swifts on October 12 – just four days after Dixie Robinson’s men visit Solitude on League duty.

And it’s Premiership points that are at stake when we tackle Donegal Celtic this weekend in a match that DC will be particularly pumped up for given the circumstances of our County Antrim Shield victory over them a few weeks back.

Two goals to the good with less than half an hour remaining, the Hoops will have been devastated to see us turn the tables around and that will doubtless add to their motivation as they prepare for this Saturday’s joust.

We also found ourselves 2-0 down against Crusaders last Saturday and it says a lot about the unpredictable nature of football that, having been in a position whereby we’d have given virtually anything for a point with 30 minutes to play, we ended up trekking home from Seaview disappointed to have only drawn.

Ciaran Caldwell’s bullet header gave us hope, his penalty gave us belief and Chris Scannell’s strike against the post completed the checkbox of virtually every possible emotion endured over the course of 90 minutes.

No such trouble against Ards a few days later, with quickfire strikes from Rory Donnelly, Stephen Garrett and Joe Gormley killing the tie as a contest and setting up arguably the most dour second-half of football in the history of Solitude.

Returning to this weekend’s matters, however, and members of Solitude Reds CSC are notified that their next meeting has been pencilled in for 1pm this Saturday.

As well as voting for August’s Player of the Month, plans will also be put in place for the October 22 Night at the Races, for which sponsorship opportunities remain available.