Hard work is paying dividends

Howard Beverland's header  puts Coleraine two goals up.' 'photo:Derek Simpson
Howard Beverland's header puts Coleraine two goals up.' 'photo:Derek Simpson

Oran Kearney hailed his side after they produced a superb display to beat champions Cliftonville at The Showgrounds.

The Bannsiders were excellent throughout and fully deserved to take the three points.

Goals in either half from Shane McGinty and Howard Beverland sealed the win for the hosts.

Coleraine dug in to repel Tommy Breslin’s side as they upped the pressure in the second half, but an inspired display by Michael Dohertykept them out.

Kearney praise his keeper and the rest of the players for their efforts on the day.

“You know you’ve played well if you’ve take three points off Cliftonville,” he told Times Sport after the game.

“You need everyone to pull their weight and today it was a real team effort.

“You have to work hard. We maybe aren’t blessed with the biggest budget in the league, but workrate doesn’t cost anything.

“The players are an infectious bunch. We have a lot of players who like to work hard, and that rubs off on everyone else in relation to the way they go about their business.

“To be fair to our lads I thought we were on the money from the first whistle today. It was a really good performance and at the othe end Michael Doherty has pulled off three or four really good saves which you need to pull off against Cliftonville because they will create chances.

“Keeping Cliftonville out will give us a huge lift. I said to the players that it was all about mentality and it was so important we had that today. It shows what we can do if everyone does believe and everyone does back themselves a little bit more we can go and compete in this league.

“When you score first against one of the big sides and because three points is so important to them they have to come out in the second half and attack.

“For the first 15 minutes of the second half they had a lot of the ball but we stayed solid, we knew they were never going to sustain that for 45 minutes.

“We managed the game enough to keep the 1-0 lead. They had to push on and we got a lot of chances on the break because of that.

“It was a well earned clean sheet today. Credit to Michael he made a blooper there a few weeks ago, but as I said to him at the time and as I said publicly we would accept it because he is worth his weight in gold in relation to clean sheets, and today he showed why we wanted him back and why he is such an important part of the squad.”

Kearney was delighted with the performances of Shane McGinty and Darren McCauley who created so many problems for the visitors.

“I’m so happy with the performance and I’m delighted for a lot of the lads,” he said.

“Shane has had a good season and we all see how much potential he has, but he’s probably his own worst critic at times. But today I was delighted for him to get the goal and grab some of the headlines.

“We never wanted to lose Darren when he was with us before. He has unfinished business here and he is a player we have always rated very highly. We are delighted to have him back and I think he will only get better.”

Coleraine’s form this festive season is in stark contrast to the run they were on last December.

And Kearney highlighted the positive around all aspects of the club at the minute.

“This time last year was probably a time I would rather forget as we were languishing down round the bottom of the table,” he said.

“It’s nice that we are where we are this season especially as we have four or five young players in the team as you don’t want them to be burdened with as it allows them to go and perform like the way they have today.

“We have guys in our squad like Howard Beverland, Stephen Douglas and Neil McCafferty who give us such a great foundation which can only be a strong foundation.

“I obviously remember what happened this time last season, but from a playing point of view it has never been mentioned this season.

“I would never raise it in the changing room because you have to be positive, it’s in the record books now and it will never be changed. A lot of the squad weren’t here last year and they know nothing about it.

“We’re just happy with how things are ticking along at the minute. The reserves had another good win today and are still top of their league.

“That was the big plan when we first arrived here. We wanted a foundation to bring through a few players, which we are doing, and we still have another three or four which we would like to bring in over the next season or so.”

Cliftonville boss Tommy Breslin bemoaned his side’s first half display.

“That was a very poor day for us. I thought we were particularly poor in the first half, we looked lethargic and tired,” he said.

“We looked better in the second half, but we probably could have played until the next fortnight and not scored, it was just one of those days.

“After scoring seven last week, but we couldn’t buy one today. But we’ll move on from it.

“I know we played extra time during the week, but I don’t think it effected us. We took it easy on Thursday night and we asked people to be honest if they were up for today’s game.

“To be fair they all said they were fine.

“It was just one of those days. Their goalkeeper was pulling saves from everywhere. We really needed to score in the first 20 minutes, but it just wasn’t to be.

“But credit to Coleraine they played well on the day. Oran went through a tough time at the start of the season but they have bounced back and the players really put in a shift for him today.

“Things are so tight in the league at the minute, one defeat like today and you can fall a couple of places. We have a winning mentality at the club, we are used to winning but it just doesn’t happen every week.”

Next up for the Bannsiders is a trip to Glenavon with Kearney expecting another tough game.

“Glenavon are littered with a lot of quality players, yes they have been a wee bit up and down over the last month, but when they click like they have done away at Crusaders recently, they show what they can do when they flex their muscles.