STUART McMullan is hoping Coleraine can bounce back from Saturday’s disappointing defeat at home to Glenavon but putting a dent in Cliftonville’s title charge.

The 23-year-old has impressed deputising for the injured David Ogilby at the heart of the Bannsiders defence. And he knows he will have extra responsibility on his shoulders at Solitude as Howard Beverland is ruled out through suspension but he is relishing the challenge.

“You relish playing against the big teams, those are the sort of games you don’t need any motivation for,” McMullan told Times Sport.

“We have to dust ourselves down and come back on Tuesday night focused on getting a result on Saturday.

“It’s so competitive in this league and you have to battle to get the result.

“Cliftonville are doing really well at the minute, they have been really consistent but I’m sure they’ll go through a bad spell too and hopefully we can maybe kick start that bad spell by beating them on Saturday.

“It’s frustrating we weren’t able to make up ground on them today. Last week when we won they won too and then they drop points and so do we, but as I say that’s just the way this league is.

“If we can get some consistency then I believe we can push on and close the gap on Cliftonville at the top.

“I know last season watching Coleraine’s results this was the time we kicked on and put a string of results together so hopefully we can replicate it this time around.

“We just have to stick together and continue to work hard.”

McMullan is thrilled to have finally got his chance in the starting eleven and he is determined to hold on to the shirt with both hands.

“When you watch from the sidelines you don’t realise just how big a step up it is,” said the big defender.

“Coming on against Portadown was tough and it took me a while to get the pace of the game.

“Against Dungannon I felt that I had found my feet and I’ve really enjoyed playing.

“But I know it’s up to me now to keep my spot especially with Kyle and ‘OG’ pushing for a start again.

“Sometimes in football you have to be patient and wait for your chance and now that it has come along for me I’m determined to make the most of it.

“We have a big squad here and Oran is very straight with the players if you are doing the business he’ll keep you in the team.

“He said to me before I came to the club that there is obviously people in your position but the opportunity was there for me to fight for one of those positions.”