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Who are Rubin Kazan?

SHAMROCK Rovers’ opponents tonight are one of the new kids on the block when it comes to Russian football.

While the likes of Moscow clubs CSKA, Spartak and Dinamo led the way for Russian clubs in Soviet times, Rubin were from their foundation in 1958 a little-known lower-league club.

Even the break-up of the USSR failed to lift Rubin into the big time and they had to wait until 2003 before their first chance to compete in Russia’s top flight and only made their debut in European competition in 2004 when they played in the UEFA Cup.

By the end of the last decade, oil money pouring into the club made Rubin a real force and they won the Russian league in 2008 and 2009, and they went on to qualify for the group stages of the Champions League twice.

Good omen?

THERE is one good omen for Rovers ahead of tonight's tie in the form of the referee.

Hungarian whistler Szolt Szabo has only been in charge of an Irish team once before but that was an Irish win, when Keith Fahey’s goal gave Giovanni Trapattoni’s side a 1-0 win in Armenia last year.

Team line-ups

Shamrock Rovers (4-5-1): Thompson; Sullivan, Murray, Sives, Stevens; McCabe, McCormack, Rice, Finn, Dennehy; Twigg.

Rubin Kazan (4-4-2): Ryzhikov; Kuzmin, Sharonov, Navas, Kaleshin; Martins, Natcho, Noboa, Ryazantsev; Gokdeniz, Valdez.

Live on TV

THIS evening’s Europa League clash between Shamrock Rovers and Rubin Kazan is live on TV3 (kick-off 6.0pm)