Beating Dundela by a three-goal margin, keeping a clean sheet, being impressed with a striker who puts team before self and doubling their points tally in the table were all reasons for the Larne manager to be walking tall on Saturday afternoon. But his main emotion after a fine win was not pride.
“If I’m being truthful, there was a large measure of relief enveloped in my overall feelings because, had we lost again in the league, we’d have been sitting with just three points from a possible 15 - without having been outplayed or well beaten by anybody,” explained boss David McAlinden.
“I said beforehand that, after the opening day victory, we had been beaten 2-1 three times in succession and didn’t deserve to come out with nothing from all of those matches.
“It was tough, looking at the table and realising that we could have been sitting very comfortably, so I reckon we deserved a change of fortune and it was imperative that we secured those crucial three points at Inver Park.
“The guys responded and it was the hardworking Ciaran Murray who took the lead as we defeated Dundela 3-0, scoring two goals and setting up the other one.
“In a situation where the hat-trick opportunity was there for him after a lovely pass from Ross Davidson, one which nine out of 10 centre-forwards would have gone for, I think it was pleasing to see Ciaran opt to roll the ball cross for Thomas Robinson to knock in the clinching third goal.
“That said, we played very well throughout the 90 minutes and we could have had the ball in the net a good number of other times.”
McAlinden said Saturday’s clash with Sport & Leisure in the Steel Cup will be a serious test of character as well as ability.
“They will approach the game with determination and a nothing-to-lose attitude. Their manager is Packie McAllister, who has proved himself as competent and astute in that role as he was in his playing career. He did well with DC and will ensure that we don’t get things easy.
“But we desperately want to progress to the Steel and Sons Cup quarter-finals and, no matter how we manage it, our target is to get into the hat for the draw,” assured the eager Larne manager.