David Healy’s Swifts praise but hails ‘mindset’ change in Linfield win

Shayne Lavery finds the net for Linfield against Dungannon Swifts. Pic by Pacemaker.Shayne Lavery finds the net for Linfield against Dungannon Swifts. Pic by Pacemaker.
Shayne Lavery finds the net for Linfield against Dungannon Swifts. Pic by Pacemaker.
Linfield manager David Healy paid Dungannon Swifts the ultimate compliment on Saturday - stating they are too good to be hovering in the Irish League’s basement zone.

Kris Lindsay’s boys certainly didn’t perform like Danske Bank Premiership relegation candidates at Windsor Park as they matched the Danske Bank Premiership champions all over the pitch in terms of hunger, commitment and desire.

It wasn’t until the ever-reliable Andy Waterworth broke the deadlock on 66 minutes that Healy – and the 500 fans scattered throughout the international arena – could breathe easily.

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Shayne Lavery then added a second with a cracking finish, before centre-back Jimmy Callacher completed the job by planting two unstoppable headers past Sam Johnston, both from pin-point deliveries from Kirk Millar.

Healy admitted he had an uneasy afternoon sitting in the stand – the legacy of his dismissal against Larne last time out.

“Dungannon certainly don’t look like a bottom-of-the-table side,” said the former Northern Ireland international striker. “I’m sure Kris will be happy with the level of performance from his side, if perhaps not the result.

“They will be more than fine come the end of the season, that’s for sure.

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“They have enough young bodies in there and they also have a few experienced players coming back from injury.

“I certainly wasn’t expecting a 4-0 score after the first hour, I would have probably taken a 1-0 win had I been offered it after 60 minutes.

“When we got the first goal, the game opened up a little bit more...the mindset changed.

“It was then vital we went on to get the second goal, it was a great ball by Jordan (Stewart) and a great finish by Shayne.

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“But it was hard work, credit to Dungannon...they came with a game plan and it worked for them for a large part of the game.

“We had to wait, we had to be patient.

“The longer the game went on, you start to wonder will it (the breakthrough) even happen, it was a big goal from Andy, he was ‘Johnny-On-The-Spot’ once again.

“Fair play to the players, they kept playing the right way against a very stubborn, well-organised side.

“The tempo was too slow in the first half, but we upped that after the break.

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“It’s difficult when you have six or seven bodies strung across the back, there was not a lot of space.”

Healy admitted it was vital his team pocketed the three points – they are now only one adrift of table-topping Larne – after losing at the latter’s Inver Park the previous week.

“We’ve lost twice in the last couple of weeks, so we can’t afford to fall too far behind Larne,” he said. “They are going well, we are all chasing them.

“The rest of us are all playing catch-up.”

Swifts boss Kris Lindsay was delighted how his team performed for large parts and felt the score did not prove a true reflection on how the game panned out.

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“Last week we conceded five goals against Ballymena United in the second half, I wasn’t in a good place after that...we had no desire or commitment,” said Lindsay. “It was a real low point for me...it was different against Linfield, we were disciplined and we competed.

The second goal was the killer for us, Lavery did Kris Lowe for pace and his finish was top-drawer.

“We will regroup over the next week or so, now we’ve no game, we’ll work on a few things and come out fighting against Cliftonville on January 2.

“Our position in the league table will not be defined by games like this, anything would have been a bonus.

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“Yes, we want to compete and do well, but we need to start picking up points from the teams around us which we haven’t done so far this season, that’s been the disappointing thing for me.”

LINFIELD: Johns, Haughey, Callacher, Waterworth (Kearns, 78), Millar, Lavery, Clarke, McClean (Hery, 75), Mulgrew, Pepper, Quinn (Stewart, 60).

Subs (not used): Walsh, Stafford, Larkin, Nasseri.

DUNGANNON SWIFTS: Johnston, Coyle, Teggart, King (McGinty, 24), Byers, Lowe, Smyth, Campbell (Teelan, 88), Forde (Gallagher, 79), Patton, Carvill.

Subs (not used): Byrne, Devlin, Convie, Glenny.

REFEREE: Andrew Davey.

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