Plenty of mutual respect shown between managers

Northern Ireland bosses say friendship will endure despite bEuropa League clash

Plenty of mutual respect shown between managers

Respective managers Oran Kearney and Stephen Robinson.

By Damian Mullan

Reporter:

By Damian Mullan

Email:

sport@thechronicle.uk.com

THERE was plenty of respect shown by the respective managers at the end of Thursday's Europa League tie between Coleraine and Motherwell.

Oran Kearney and Stephen Robinson have forged a strong friendship in recent years and that will clearly continue despite Coleraine's heartbreaking defeat to the SPL side.

“I just gave Stephen a hug at the end as I think I was wrecked and he was wrecked," admitted Oran once the dust had settled on a pulsating game.

“I wished him all the best for the next round.

“As I said before the game, we go toe-to-toe and we had a bit of fun on the sideline and everything else that goes with it but there’s a big respect there and that will carry on," he added.

Robinson, who takes his team to face Aberdeen on Sunday, was full of praise for his opposite number and his players.

"Oran should be very proud of his team, it's easy to say when you win the game, but I would have said it win, lose or draw.

"The character and the fight the boys gave him when they were on their knees then they got cramp, they played to the conditions and the pitch, they know how to play it.

"I think both sets of players would have preferred a better pitch, that surface doesn't put the Irish League in a good light, but both Coleraine and ourselves think the same.

"Surely now people can see how much Northern Ireland football is on the map again and maybe the councils and people can invest into this club, because they certainly deserve it," he added.

Both bosses agreed that the game was for the ages which could have gone either way.

"It was a very difficult night and we said we would win it anyway we could," said Robinson.

"We were 2-0 up and comfortable, but you have to credit Coleraine.

"They made our night very difficult and there was nothing in it in the end.

"I have to credit our lads as well, especially after going down to ten men.

"But we dug in and Trevor Carson came to the fore to save us.

"Whatever way you look at it we're in the next round of Europe and no-one will ever look at how you got there.

"But I certainly have to give a lot of credit to Coleraine, they should be very proud of their performance.

"Ultimately we got what we wanted and that was getting through to the next round."

As for Oran, he was delighted with the response of his charges after going behind early.

“To be honest, we were lucky to only be two-nil at half-time as it was helter skelter first ten minutes, Aaron Jarvis was off the pitch for a period of time and it wasn’t the ideal start as Motherwell were very good," he said.

“For people who don’t know us and how we play here, we are very much a second-half team and we use that small gradient and tiny bit of slope and we use it well.

“At half-time it was quite harrowing with the message as the next goal was vital in two ways because the first way was if Motherwell grabbed a third we would have to absolutely tune in and not pick up a four, five or six-nil defeat, but the stronger mentality would be to hang in there and if the goal does come, we could perhaps turn the tide.

“I think when you bring Skinner on he is very effective at what he does, we altered the way we played, caused them multiple problems and deservedly got back into the game.

“From where we found ourselves at half-time to go into extra-time and everything else that comes with that, for the joy we had in the last round on penalties it wasn’t to be tonight.

“It was a rip roaring game and one we can be proud of but we wish Motherwell all the best in the next round," he added.

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