AFTER a difficult last few weeks Coleraine looked to be back to their old selves as they produced a professional display to see off Dungannon Swifts on Saturday.
The Bannsiders fought back from a goal down to beat the hosts 3-1 thanks to goals from Gareth Tommons, Stevie Lowry and Curtis Allen.
But more importantly the win coupled with Portadown’s failure to beat Ballymena United means Oran Kearney’s men have secured their place in the top six once the league splits after this Saturday’s round of fixtures.
“I thought it was a very professional performance today, bar maybe the first 15 minutes or so,” a delighted Kearney told Times Sport after the game.
“I was nearly glad to see Dungannon score as we had started the game so poorly. We couldn’t pass the ball to save our lives and to be fair to Dungannon they got out of the traps well and move the ball about.
“Their goal was coming but thankfully it was the catalyst for us and we finally got going after they scored.
“From that goal we started to get a grip on the game and it was great to get a response as quickly as that, but in saying that our response after the equaliser was very good and we showed the bit of class we maybe haven’t shown in recent weeks.
“Dungannon were dangerous, especially in the first half, but I said to the lads at the break the next goal would be important, but there doesn’t have to be a next goal.
“We knew they would have to push on so we had to make sure we were solid, we are a good counterattacking side and it was important to use that to our benefit.
“When we got the third it was great, It was built up as being a stressful day for us, but after that is probably one of the most pain free games we’ve had, which is nice that in times like this they can produce a mature performance.”
The Bannsiders went into the game without defensive lynchpins David Ogilby and Howard Beverland, who had to sit out through suspension.
Kyle McVey and Stuart McMullan stepped into the breach, but unfortunately for McMullan he too ended up on the sidelines after picking up a knock in the first half.
Michael Hegarty slipped into the back four though and produced a great display alongside McVey.
“We don’t have a squad of 24 players and when we do go thin on the ground we need versatility and to be fair to Michael he just slotted in there without any fuss and take one for the team as such,” said Kearney.
“He showed all his experience and put in a good display.”