IRISH LEAGUE: It’s not over yet says Baxter after Crusaders see off Carrick

Crusaders Billy Joe Burns scores during the game at Seaview in Belfast.
 PHOTO Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press
Crusaders Billy Joe Burns scores during the game at Seaview in Belfast. PHOTO Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press

Crusaders opened up a 10 point gap on title rivals Linfield, who play Cliftonville tonight, with this emphatic 3-0 victory over Carrick Rangers.

Pundits and fans around the country believe it’s already a done deal for Stephen Baxter’s boys to become Danske Bank Premiership champions for the third year running but ‘Big Stanley’, respectfully, begs to disagree.

“Fans, media and everyone else will all have a view of course but believe me winning football matches is an incredibly difficult business” insisted Baxter.

“People talk about seven point leads and gaps and so on but you could play three matches, lose two and draw the other and suddenly it’s one point out of nine and the whole thing changes.

“I never think oh we are running away with it. All I think about is the next game, getting three points and that’s another game chalked off”.

“ I think all football managers are like that. We all know that things can change quickly, somebody can go on a run or you can get pegged back like we did on the run-in last year at Carrick.

“ Right now for me we still have far too many games to play to call it. I’ll start thinking about it perhaps when it comes into touching distance but right now it seems some distance away.”

Carrick Rangers boss Aaron Callaghan saidhis goalkeeper had been the club’s salvation at his old stomping ground of Seaview.

“Brian Neeson was outstanding and made five world class saves before they got the first goal,” he said.

“But then he is a fantastic goalkeeper who has been great for us all year.

“Our problem against the Crues was that while Brian and a couple of others were at their best you can’t expect to win a game like this with just three of your players performing at their best.

“ That was the disappointing thing for me much as I was delighted with Brian Neeson’s performance.”