Coleraine boss Oran Kearney was singing the praises of midfielder Josh Carson, after his brace on Friday night helped the Bannsiders secure European football for the second year in a row.
Carson helped Coleraine fight back from a goal down to snatch all three points against a determined Carrick Rangers side.
Josh is quality in everything he does, I couldn’t speak any higher of himORAN KEARNEY, Coleraine manager
It took the former Ipswich Town man to ten goals for the season, and Kearney believes he is benefiting from playing regularly.
“Josh is quality in everything he does, I couldn’t speak any higher of him,” said the Bannsiders boss.
“But I would expect that, he has six international caps and has the pedigree from being over in England and everything else which goes with it.
“You expect that when you sign a player of his quality, and it’s great when you get every bit of it out of him.
“His big frustration at Linfeld was not getting enough game time, we’ve almost sickened him with the amount of football he’s got here this season, but he has responded.
“I promised him he would get his fair share of football here, and both Josh and us are getting the rewards for that.”
The 3-2 win helped Coleraine leapfrog Crusaders at the top of the Danske Bank Premiership, and Kearney said the decision to play the game without Jamie McGonigle and Ciaron Harkin was a gamble worth taking.
“Friday night was all about the result,” he said.
“Obviously Jamie was with the Under-21s and Ciaron was actually suspended, but we had to take the risk of playing the game.
“We have nailed European qualification again, and to be honest that’s a big target nailed for the season.
“The pressure is off us, so the key thing was to go and ask a question of Crusaders.
“For the last six weeks or so we have hung in there, now this was our opportunity to go and flip it.
“If we had lost the game I would have taken a lot of flack for it.
“But psychologically it was important for everyone to go home over the weekend with us back on top of the league again.”