Davy McAlinden paid the ultimate tribute to his Larne players at half-time on Saturday, telling them they were playing so well he felt like going to the turnstiles and paying in to watch them!
“For 60 or 65 minutes we played the best football since we played Armagh City the last time. It was just the sort of football a manager wants from his team and we had the points safely in the bag at 4-0. It really was an absolute joy to watch,” said the Inver Park manager.
“Then we made some changes to give some players game time and also take off several players who needed to come off and that, as you might expect, upset the momentum a little bit.
“Stuart King was replaced by Sean McGoran, a young fella with great potential who’s just 16 or 17. Stuart Scott made way for Craig Todd and we had to rejig the defence as Stuart McMullan exited and Thomas Robinson came on at left-side midfield.
“We had been dominant overall and there was never any doubt that the win was secured, so it was the right job to do at that moment because it was a rare opportunity to give the other guys a deserved bit of game time.
“The other results were pretty good for us, Ards beating a Carrick side with plenty of games in hand, and Bangor shocked by a PSNI side that has been improving rapidly and impressively.
“We beat them 3-0 earlier in the season but I remember telling Jamesy Kirk there was potential in the team and he has added some players since.”
And McAlinden admitted he is “getting pretty excited” about the way the season is panning out.
“I said that March time was when we should look at the table and it’s getting very interesting indeed right now.
“We are in the mix and that’s as much as we could have hoped for at this point. But, as I have said repeatedly and will do so again, we have to play Bangor, Carrick, the Welders and PSNI in the last four matches and I’d love to still be right there when we get to that situation.
“We go to Ballyskeagh on Saturday and we will need to play well once more to get the result we want against a Whites side that is notoriously difficult to beat. But we are playing well and there’s loads of confidence in the squad right now,” assured the optimistic Reds’ boss.