CLIFTONVILLE boss Paddy McLaughlin acknowledges that Dungannon need to start turning performances into results but is hoping they won’t start at the weekend as the Reds travel to Stangmore Park on Saturday (3pm kick-off).

The Swifts are without a win since defeating relegation rivals Portadown at the end of September, but McLaughlin praised Dean Shiels for continuing to persevere and has called on his side to be on their guards to ensure that elusive victory doesn’t arrive at the weekend.

 

“They’re a brilliant football side and fair play to Dean Shiels,” acknowledged McLaughlin.

“I know that people will look at their results and doubt what he is doing, but his ideas and philosophies are excellent and he’s sticking to his guns. Hopefully, it will be an entertaining game and hopefully we can come out on top.

“Dungannon do well at what they do. I know they need a couple of results, but we’ve got to be on our guard and make sure that they don’t get it against us because points are precious at this stage of the season.”

The Solitude side go into Saturday’s game off the back of a 0-0 draw with Linfield at Windsor Park on Tuesday evening.

Linfield hit-man Joel Cooper was kept quiet for the majority of the evening and McLaughlin was pleased that they were able to nullify his threat, singling out centre-half Jamie Robinson for particular praise.

“I thought that man-for-man across the pitch, Cooper is a brilliant player,” admits McLaughlin.

“There is talk about Conor McMenamin being the star of the Irish League and rightly so, but Joel Cooper is breathing down his neck for that status and praise.

“If you keep him quiet, then you’re doing something right and I thought we nullified him as best we could because it is difficult to do that against one of the best players in the country.

“Around the pitch, I thought man-for-man we won a lot of battles and that was important. Jamie Robinson at 19 years of age is booked after 15 minutes, his first tackle he is booked and he goes and defends for the rest of the game along with Jonny Addis.

“As a team, it wouldn’t be fair to stop at that because we would need to go through them all and tell them how well they all played because they were excellent.

“We had to be, you have to be on your toes and on your game when you come to Windsor Park to come away with anything.

“We were a couple of inches away from winning the game. That was the only slight disappointment.”

The Derry native believes that there are many people expecting his side to fall away after their fantastic showing last season, but he insists that it is mere motivation.

“There is probably some hoping and probably some expecting that we’ll drop off,” insists the Cliftonville boss.

“That is good, and we don’t really like that underdog tag. We like people writing us off and people criticising because the response by our boys has always been brilliant. We’ve shown that this season again.

“People probably are saying that it was a one-off and that is good, we’ll use that as motivation and keep reminding the players of that and the nonsense that we see and hear in the outside world. t’s a good motivational tool so let them work away.”