Football/Soccer

Ryan Curran confident that Cliftonville can deal with their 'bread and butter'

Pacemaker - Belfast - -30/03/2019. ..Cliftonville v Glentoran Danske Bank Premiership.Cliftonville Ryan Curran who scored the winner during todays game at Solitude in Belfast..Photo Desmond Loughery/Pacemaker.
Pádraig Ó Meiscill

Danske Bank Premiership: Carrick Rangers v Cliftonville (today, 3pm)

THE tragedy which overshadowed Cliftonville’s start to the Danske Bank Premiership season has been well documented.

Events like the passing of former manager Tommy Breslin inevitably put the game into perspective, but Cliftonville’s players – especially those who played under Breslin perhaps – have also remained focused and ensured the club has had a decent start to the season.

Joe Gormley late goal grabbed a opening day point from a tough assignment at Coleraine, which was followed an impressive dismissal of Glenavon at Solitude.

The defending was at times calamitous in last weekend’s defeat to Crusaders, but manager Paddy McLaughlin remained upbeat in the aftermath and insisted his squad would put the result behind them and kick on.

Today, they travel to Carrick to take on newly-promoted Rangers and Ryan Curran shares his manager’s positive assessment of where they are at as a team.

“I think Paddy came in early February time and, since he’s come in, we’ve been on a good run of form,” Curran said.

“I don’t think we’ve dropped many points, we’ve won a lot of games, we obviously qualified for Europe through the play-off system at the end of last season. That was obviously our goal at the time because we’d nothing left to play for when Paddy came in, but we did get a good run of form together and we got to know Paddy’s ways and Paddy got to know our ways.

“It was probably a good way for Paddy to blood himself into the squad rather than coming in in pre-season and trying to implement his ways.

“The feeling’s good in the camp and, all being well, we can continue a half-decent start. Ronan Doherty’s come in, Ronan Wilson’s come in, Seanna Foster’s come in, forgive me if I’m forgetting a few others, and we’ve been able to blood them into the squad.”

With Coleraine beating Linfield last weekend, the likes of Dungannon having a storming start and only Crusaders left on maximum points, predictions of a wide open title race appear to have been well-founded. Curran, though, was remaining coy about whether Cliftonville would be involved in the shake up ahead of the trip to Taylor's Avenue.

“We’ve all had our meetings and there’s a lot been said behind closed doors, but I think that the league is your bread and butter, you want to be as competitive as you can in the league,” he added.

“There’s no point in me saying we’re going to go out and win the league because we don’t know what could happen because there’s a lot of top sides, but I think doing well in the league is obviously our priority and see where that takes us.

“It could just be that a bit of momentum and a good run of form could take you a long way as we’ve seen in the last couple of years – obviously, Ballymena got a good run together last year, the likes of Coleraine got a good run together and it’s not too far away since Cliftonville last won the league, so there’s players still in our squad who know what it’s like. But if we can win any sort of competition, whether it be the Irish Cup, the League Cup, and remain competitive in the league I suppose you’d take that right now.

“We don’t want to be overly confident, but we can always be quietly confident among ourselves that we could go under the radar and pick up a few results and then see where that takes us.”

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