St Patrick’s Athletic captain Joe Redmond labelled Sunday’s win over Sligo Rovers as “exceptional”, and has backed his side to return to European football next year, with 11 league games remaining.
Following Thursday’s Europa Conference League exit to CSKA Sofia, the Saints returned to league action for the first time in 30 days as they hosted Sligo Rovers. Serge Atakayi’s first-half strike on his debut proved to be the difference, as the Inchicore outfit closed the gap to third-placed Derry City to six points.
“Straight away we knew that we needed to focus on the league and put it (CSKA) behind us,” said the centre-back, who has played every minute of St Pat’s campaign this season. “It was a great run we had. We played great in all the games but we need to bring that into the league. I think we’ve done that.
“It’s a big win and it gives us momentum going into the next few games. We need to go and match it with another win on Friday (against UCD) and start climbing up the table.”
Redmond also praised Saints pair Danny Rogers and Atakayi, who both made their full league debuts on Sunday. New signing and former Ireland U-21 Rogers is set to battle David Odumosu for the number one shirt, after Joseph Anang controversially cut his loan spell short to sign for Derby County.
“Danny was excellent,” Redmond added. “In training he’s come in and has been quality. I’m delighted for him. Serge has been quality since he’s come in. He gives us another dimension of play, he comes into pockets and he runs in behind. Now he’s bringing in goals. It’s great.”
Redmond was named captain of Tim Clancy’s side recently, and while he admitted he was surprised, the 22-year-old revealed he’s enjoying the responsibility. “I’m delighted, I like to lead. Out there we all stick together. We showed that when we went down to ten men.”