Cliftonville’s Ronan Doherty described as “strange” playing against his former club Institute on Saturday.
The midfielder, who has settled into his new surroundings at Solitude superbly, also revealed the weekend game was the first time in his career he had taken the ball to the corner flag in the closing stages of a match.
“It was weird seeing everyone that I played with last year, I still get on well with all those guys,” he admitted, “But I just had to put the ‘game face’ on and try to play as best as I could.
“I don’t think we played great at all but those are the games you probably enjoy the most, when you play badly but still get the result.
“A clean-sheet and getting the three points was always the main thing.
“I don’t think I have ever done that before, run into the corner flag. I think it was my first time but that’s all we had to do with a couple of minutes left, get in, get a corner and just see it out because Institute were putting a lot of pressure on us.”
Without doubt, the Reds will play better this season. In fact this was one of their most disappointing display of the season to date, so to come away with a 1-0 win thanks to Ruaidhri Donnelly’s first half header, 23-year-old Doherty was simply happy to see off his old club.
“Institute rolled the sleeves. I don’t think we deserved to go 1-0 up and a draw in the first half would have been a fair result but we scored just before the break,” he added.
“Had we scored that second goal, we probably would have kicked on but the fact we couldn’t get it meant they put a lot of pressure on us. We did well to dig it out.
“They had a few chances and we had a few chances but overall we have to be happy with the win. Hopefully we can play better next week and get another three points against Ballymena United.”
The stylish midfielder, who had the likes of Derry City, Ballymena United and Glenavon tracking him before making his switch Belfast, said he always keeps an eye out for how his old team-mates are getting on and is hoping under Sean Connor they can start moving away from that relegation zone.
“I definitely look out for their results,” he confirmed,“I know all the boys and keep in touch with them. I want them to do well, obviously not against us, but for the rest of the season and stuff.
“Hopefully they start getting a results and start moving up the table because now, with a new manager in place, they can kick-on for the rest of the season.
“I do like the club and all the players. I’ll always be grateful for everything they did for me. Institute were the first club to give me my chance in senior football and I’ll always be grateful for that.”