BetMcLean Cup


11 Mar 2024
© Pacemaker Press

Linfield's Kyle McClean, named man of the match following the BetMcLean Cup final victory over Portadown, is hoping the club's latest success will help them push on to clinch further silverware in the final weeks of the campaign.

Speaking after the game, the 25-year-old told Sky Sports: "We've got a young group this year, and a lot of good players. The young boys have really stepped up, they've been brilliant, and for the rest of the season we want to push on in the league.

"We're in a strong position, and we're in the semi-final of the Irish Cup, so we're still fighting on all fronts and hopefully we can compete right until the end of the season."

Although the Blues ran out comfortable winners in the end, McClean did acknowledge the part played by the Ports particularly in the first half.

"I felt they were very, very good but the message from the bench was stay calm, keep trying to play and the opportunities will come. We had a couple and they didn't go in, but thankfully a couple of set piece went in and they give us a little platform for the second half.

"We got a wee bit sloppy towards the end, and it was disappointing to concede the goal but I thought we were well worth the win."

And Linfield boss David Healy was glowing in his praise of McClean's contribution to a 12th League Cup triumph for the Blues.

"Kyle is a manager's dream. He's professional, knows his role, his job and responsibilities in and around the dressing room," he said.

"I've worked with him for quite a number of years and he has been a huge success and he's hugely popular in the dressing room, which is important to be well-thought of by your teammates, players and peers.

"The players think highly of him, and so do I as manager and the rest of the coaching staff because you know what you're getting out of him.

"You're getting responsibility, quality, good decisions and you get the odd goal and assist when he's allowed to break free of his own shackles and get himself in and around the box. You can't speak highly enough of someone like that."