Cliftonville’s focus solely on Carrick Rangers after cup victory

Danske Bank Premiership, The Oval, Belfast 24/2/2018 'Glentoran vs Cliftonville'Cliftonville Manager Barry Gray 'Mandatory Credit �INPHO/Freddie Parkinson
Danske Bank Premiership, The Oval, Belfast 24/2/2018 'Glentoran vs Cliftonville'Cliftonville Manager Barry Gray 'Mandatory Credit �INPHO/Freddie Parkinson

Cliftonville travel to Carrick Rangers on Saturday in the Danske Bank Irish Premiership fresh from a confidence-boosting victory in the Tennent’s Irish Cup over holders Linfield midweek.

The Reds are currently fifth in the table, six points behind Linfield, but with a game in hand and will be aiming to build on their result at Windsor Park, when Joe Gormley’s goal was enough to send Barry Gray’s men into the semi finals.

Rangers are in a relegation scrap with fellow basement side Ballinamallard United and Cliftonville will see this game as an opportunity to put more points on the board.

However, although Gray was satisfied with the cup result over Linfield, he identified some issues that required attention during the half-time interval after goalkeeper Brian Neeson made a series of fine saves in the first 45 minutes, when Linfield could have put the tie to bed.

“Linfield should probably have been out of sight,” said Gray.

“We were delighted to get in at half-time with the score still level. We needed the interval because we had to address a few issues because we were having problems.”

With Cliftonville safely through to the semi finals of the Irish Cup, when giantkilling Loughgall lie in wait, Gray is now solely focused on tomorrow’s return to league action away to Carrick.

“You could see at the end that beating Linfield meant a lot to the players and the supporters, but we have to get focussed and ready to go again,” he said.