From Paolo Maldini to Paolo Rossi on Ross Redman’s happy Portadown return
With a smile born of a welcome win, Ballymena United boss David Jeffrey compared left-back-turned-centre-back Ross Redman with AC Milan legend Paolo Maldini following Saturday’s 2-1 success over Portadown.
And Jeffrey may have also enjoyed a post-match chuckle at the idea of Redman going from Maldini to another Italian great in Paolo Rossi by grabbing the winning goal like the 1982 World Cup ‘Golden Boot’ winner!
However, following the fun, Jeffrey was serious in his praise for the professionalism of the summer signing who started out at Portadown before time with Glentoran and Dungannon Swifts that suggested diminishing returns ahead of his Ballymena rejuvenation.
“I can’t believe Ross Redman - to come back here as an absolute club legend for Portadown...it was probably rather fitting for him to get the winning goal,” said Jeffrey of a player who has flourished in the current campaign. “We’ve been truly blessed to have Ross, when a lot of people were looking and thinking ‘what are you taking this fella for?’.
“But he told me very clearly he had unfinished business and Ross has been an absolute stalwart in our changing room, such an example.
“We had to shuffle the pack and ask two full-backs in Ross and Trai Hume to play centre-back, that’s the situation we were in but I felt both did really well.
“It comes down to the person and Ross is someone I can trust during difficult times.
“He came in on Tuesday in the second half and did it well then was outstanding today, I don’t think he has ever played there competitively before and I cannot speak highly enough of Ross.
“There’s great satisfaction (in watching him thrive this season) and when he told me he felt he had unfinished business then that was it.”
Goals by Shay McCartan and Redman helped Ballymena bounce back from conceding to Portadown’s Sam Warde and get back on track with a win following five defeats in a row.
“I told the players at half-time they showed great courage and resilience to come back and make it 1-1 off a fantastic strike by Shay McCartan...he is a special player,” said Jeffrey. “Of late he’s been frustrated by his own performances...today he kept working his socks off and got his reward, with more to come as an exciting talent.
“Overall, I’m very pleased - delighted with the performance and, to be brutally honest, delighted to get three points.
“To go 1-0 down you need that resilience, you are constantly trying to reinforce to the players if they keep doing the right things and working hard it will come right.
“I’ve been pumping up the players all of the time and can’t be unhappy with their performances, work or commitment - they were ticking every box bar getting that little bit of fortune to get over the line.”
PORTADOWN: Carney, McCallum, Finnegan, Salley (Murray, 83), Bonis, Wilson (McKeown, 75), Guy, Kerr, Warde (Teggart, 80), Scannell, Tilney.
Subs (not used): Buchanan, Lavery, Conaty, Healy.
BALLYMENA UNITED: Glendinning, Redman, Winchester, McElroy, McCartan (Kane, 91), Waide (McCready, 80), McGrory, Hume, Kelly, S.Graham, Wylie (Knowles, 89).
Subs (not used): D.Graham, Ervin, Beattie, Farquhar.
REFEREE: Steven Gregg.
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