Reds ready for the road insists McLaughlin as Danske Bank Premiership title race goes down to the wire
Danske Bank Premiership: Cliftonville 0 Larne 0
CLIFTONVILLE boss Paddy McLaughlin insists life on the road holds no fear for his side as they chase down Linfield in an absorbing Danske Bank Premiership title race.
The Reds missed the chance to go top of the table on Saturday, as they drew 0-0 with Larne at Solitude.
The goalless draw was their final home of the season with three away trips to finish the campaign now on the horizon, firstly as they head to Coleraine tomorrow evening.
McLaughlin’s men are just one point behind reigning champions Linfield and he believes a sizeable support from the club’s fans can help to nudge them over the finishing line.
While he would prefer home comforts, McLaughlin is relishing the final furlong of the season
“Our away form has been excellent this season,” he pointed out.
“I think it has only been bettered by Linfield and Glentoran. We’ll bring the Red Army out on Tuesday night and they’ll be there in their numbers at Coleraine
“With the atmosphere they can create it almost recreates a home game for us.
“They’ve been doing it for us all year home and away and hopefully they’ll continue to do that, which I’m sure they will.
“The players have responded to it all year too and the boys are raring to go.
“It’ll be tough on Tuesday but the boys are looking for it.”
Cliftonville have laid on two double decker buses for tomorrow’s trip to the Showgrounds as a thank you to their loyal fans, something which has delighted McLaughlin.
“It’s great for the club to do that, and give something back to the fans who have come out in their numbers all year,” he added
“They’ve supported us really well and they’ve backed us brilliantly. It’s a nice gesture by the club and it shows we’re all in together.
“Hopefully it will be those two buses and plenty more cars going to the Showgrounds.”
Cliftonville went into Saturday’s game off the back of Linfield and Glentoran drawing 1-1 the previous night.
It meant McLaughlin’s men had the added incentive of knowing they would leapfrog Linfield with a win.
The encounter with Larne proved to be short on chances at either end. Jamie McDonagh hit the bar with his first half effort while the home side had to withstand some Larne pressure in the second, Davy McDaid going close on a couple of occasions. However, the Reds boss was adamant his players didn’t feel any extra pressure going into the game given the previous night's result.
“We don’t feel like we’ve missed an opportunity,” he added.
“I didn’t come into the Larne game feeling any more pressure, and I’m pretty sure the players didn’t either.
“The only pressure is because you want to win the game, but Larne are a very good side and it’s always close against them.
“There will be twists and turns still to come and both ourselves and Linfield have to Crusaders in the next week.
“They are the in-form side in the league at the minute and chasing down third place.
“Glentoran have another tough game to come, against Larne on Tuesday, so there are big challenges up ahead for everyone.
“A lot can happen in the next games and I’m sure it will. Hopefully we’ll be ready when it does.”