David Jeffrey said his Ballymena United side’s win at Carrick Rangers was their “best victory” yet as he celebrated the first milestone of his Showgrounds tenure.
A 2-0 success at the Belfast Loughshore Hotel Arena means that mathematically, United cannot be relegated from the Danske Bank Premiership, either automatically or via the play-offs.
“I have said to the players that is their best victory because it was incredibly tough,” said Jeffrey.
“We were up against a Carrick team which was highly motivated and very much wanting to make sure they were doing all the could to get the three points.
“The pitch was very difficult, very, very heavy and we had a swirling wind. None of it was conducive to good football. It really was about blood and guts. It was about attitude and about determination and desire. I thought we showed that.
“In the first half, on one side we could have been in four goals to the good. We had four great chances but then you’ve got to look at Carrick. Alan Blayney had to make a couple of great saves and Stephen McBride produced a goalline clearance.
“I was pleased that we went in 1-0 up at the half-time and I told the players, second half, to expect an onslaught. In the first 10 or 15 minutes we were bombarded but we stood strong and we weathered that storm. We battled on and got a great second goal.
“We’ve had some great performances and great results but for me, simply because of the conditions and the context of the game, that was the best and what was really pleasing was that we kept a clean sheet.
“That’s the first objective completed. Brian McLoughlin and myself were asked to come in and make sure that the club weren’t relegated.
“That was the primary objective and when we looked at the run of games we had at the beginning we thought where were we going to get points. We gave ourselves a platform but the real battle started last week at Dungannon and that was superb.
“Then to come and win away from home again is tremendous,” added Jeffrey.