IT’S been the perfect start to 2020 for Cliftonville defender Jamie Harney.
On New Year’s Day Harney was at the heart of a Reds defence which recorded yet another clean sheet in the 1-0 victory over Glenavon to keep Paddy McLaughlin’s table-toppers three points clear of the chasing pack which includes Linfield, Crusaders, Coleraine and Glentoran.
In fact, over the festive period the men from Solitude also defeated Coleraine, Crusaders and Larne as the Reds maintained the best defensive record in the Danske Bank Premiership.
Harney has been a mainstay in a Reds rearguard which has conceded just 15 goals in 23 games and the man from ‘The Plum’ has been rewarded for his immense contribution by agreeing a new contract which will keep him at Solitude for another three years.
Former West Ham player Harney said he was enjoying life at the Reds and was delighted to put pen to paper on new terms.
“That’s me tied up for another three years or so and I’m very happy about that,” he said.
“The club approached me in November about getting my future sorted out before January and I’m delighted about it. I definitely had no intentions of going anywhere else and it was nice that they were coming to me.
“It’s good to hear the manager, the chairman and whoever else that they are happy with the performances levels and with the progress we have made as a team this season. Long may it continue.”
Harney joined the Reds in 2017 and admitted that in the first two seasons there had been some ups and downs for a number of reasons.
However since the arrival of current boss McLaughlin the former Tyrone Milk Cup player and his team-mates have discovered a level of consistency which has culminated in the North Belfast side leading the standings heading into the new year.
The talented centre-back, who once played against Lionel Messi during his time at the Hammers, said the league leaders were relishing playing their full part in what promises to be one of the most exciting title races in years.
“We’re doing OK, not many people fancied us at the start of the season but Paddy talked about us getting on with our business quietly, under the radar to some extent, and see where it takes us by the end of the year,” he continued.
“It’s good to be up there and in contention on the 1st of January. Being top of the league might be a bit of a false position because there are still so many games to play. But it’s a great feeling to be up there and on Monday we have a big game against Linfield.”
FULL STORY IN YESTERDAY’S ULSTER HERALD