By Evan Short

Cliftonville’s historic back to back premier league title will be celebrated at Solitude on Saturday after it was confirmed Crusaders requested the season ending fixture between the two teams be moved from their ground to the home of the Reds.

A packed stadium is expected to salute the Reds’ triumph – the first time the club has been able to win the league two seasons in a row in their history.

The premiership trophy was added to the League Cup that was won in January, making the current Cliftonville team as the greatest in the club’s 135 year existence.

And that triumph is made even more special given the number of players in their starting 11 who grew up supporting the club.

Assistant Manager Gerard Lyttle told the North Belfast News the players had achieved legendary status by retaining the league.

“There has been a couple of quotes saying ‘good teams win the league, but great teams retain it’, and that’s what we’ve been able to do.

“A lot wrote us off at the start of the season when we had a bit of a blip but we have a great team and squad.”

He said keeping the team hungry for more success after last season’s efforts was a challenge.

“Our biggest fear, Tommy (Breslin), Minto (Peter Murray), and myself was that drawing Celtic was brilliant, but coming from those heights and then playing the first game against Dungannon, with no disrespect, was mentally very, very hard but we realised we had to pull together and target something.

“We said to the players about looking down the line in 50 years time and seeing their pictures there as being greats by winning the league again.

“And that’s what they did and that’s what they are – true legends and true greats.”

 

 

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