LINFIELD went down to a heavy 3-0 defeat to Crusaders on Monday night in the Danske Bank Irish Premier League.
It guaranteed that the Gibson cup title will be leaving Windsor Park and heading across town to north Belfast.
And the most likely venue is Solitude where Cliftonville have been rampant all season.
Manager David Jeffrey was disappointed at his team’s performance and hitting the self-destruct button at Seaview.
“I don’t make it my practice to criticise players in public but yet again, with respect to Crusaders, we gifted them three goals,” he told LinfieldFC. com following Monday night’s game.
“They didn’t have to work particularly hard for any of them.
“When you analyse the first goal we actually had a throw in halfway inside Crusaders half and we lost the ball.
“I know there was some talk about (Timmy) Adamson coming back from an offside position for the second goal.
” For the third goal we had two players drawn towards the ball and we just gifted them.
“I’ve said time and time again that what we have done in the past is maybe only going to be appreciated now.
“No team has a divine right to win every year so there will be times when we have less good years.
“The very least you can ask is that you go down fighting and that is what you are asking players to do.
“I look back at the immense performance against Crusaders in last years Irish Cup Final and we have come nowhere near that this season.
“We were actually unbeaten in 16 league games before tonight but it is nowhere near good enough.
“The league table doesn’t tell any lies. We have been far too inconsistent this season. We have made too many mistakes and we were punished again for them tonight.”
The win helped Crusaders keep their slim hopes of winning Premiership title alive.
But at the moment it is Cliftonville’s to lose following an impressive show throughout the season in the league.
Jordan Owens curled in a superb opener and Declan Caddell slotted in the second goal before Crues winger Paul Heatley smashed against the crossbar.
Owens rifled home after good work from Timmy Adamson on 55 minutes while a lacklustre Blues side came closest when Niall Quinn’s free-kick hit a post.
The Crues are 14 points behind leaders Cliftonville with a game in hand.
Linfield made a bright start and Michael Carvill forced a good save from Yohann La Croix.
Ross Glendinng made an impressive save at the other end to keep out Paul Heatley, but he had no chance with the 24th minute opener.
Craig McClean’s pass gave Owens the space to look up and bend the ball into the top corner from 20 yards.
Caddell made it 2-0 eight minutes later, running on to Adamson’s lay-off before firing in.
The hosts always carried more threat in the final third and Heatley rattled the bar with a powerful strike before the break.
The impressive Adamson was again the creator for the third goal, his square ball setting up Owens to shot beyond Glendinning.
Caddell squandered a good chance by firing wide with just Glendinning to beat, while Josh Robinson and Colin Coates also went close for Stephen Baxter’s side.
Linfield’s best spell came in the final 10 minutes, starting with Lacroix blocking a a BJ Burns shot with his legs.
Quinn’s 25-yard free-kick failed to curl just enough as it found the woodwork, and Philip Lowry poked inches wide on a frustrating night for the Blues.