| 14.6°C Dublin

This one best of all for Rovers

WHAT a fantastic night for Shamrock Rovers fans all over the world.

Making history is what the club has always been about but this beats the lot. I know there are many people out there who have worked so hard to keep the club alive and who must be almost overcome by the enormity of what was achieved in Belgrade.

In the darkest days when the club wandered from ground to ground, they stuck at it and a new generation came through to help. I've met and been very impressed with the lads from the 400 club. Very capable people doing the right things and the result of their efforts is now plain the see. I know I'm always banging on about how well Alex Ferguson and Manchester United generally conduct their business but the same applies at all levels in the game.

With Tallaght as a base, Rovers have moved out into the community and put down roots. This was vital. Some will say that this is a flash in the pan and I must admit, I wasn't over-confident about their chances after I watched the first leg. There were moments early in that game when Partizan looked like they might open up and hand out a lesson. But Rovers dug in and maybe put a doubt in the minds of players who expected to qualify from this tie easily.

Partizan Belgrade is a name that is soaked with European football tradition and for Rovers to travel to their patch and win 2- 1 is remarkable. Sure, Partizan showed further splashes of clever and quick passing and there was some heroic defending but Rovers were fit, well-organised and fully committed. Perhaps complacency was a factor but Partizan had the whole of extra-time to sort that out and they couldn't. In fact, they crumbled under the pressure exerted by Rovers.

It is great to think that we will have Irish interest in Europe for the first time when the nights get longer and the temperature drops. Dublin will have some big football nights and there will be a buzz around town at a time when the city and the country needs a lift.

Shamrock Rovers will bank some serious cash and, if they use it as carefully as they have run their club since the move to Tallaght, the future is bright indeed for the Hoops.