| 24.1°C Dublin

Stephen Bradley not looking too far ahead in Europe as Ludogorets loom for Shamrock Rovers

Close

Shamrock Rovers manager Stephen Bradley celebrates after his side's victory. Photo by George Tewkesbury/Sportsfile

Shamrock Rovers manager Stephen Bradley celebrates after his side's victory. Photo by George Tewkesbury/Sportsfile

Shamrock Rovers manager Stephen Bradley celebrates after his side's victory. Photo by George Tewkesbury/Sportsfile

Shamrock Rovers manager Stephen Bradley insists he is not letting his mind wander beyond next week's Champions League return with Hibernians despite the fact his side will travel with a three-goal cushion.

The Hoops are in control after a reasonably comfortable success in Tallaght save for an uncomfortable patch after half time where the Maltese champions threatened to halve what was then a two-goal deficit.

Rory Gaffney added a third to put the Hoops in a position of authority, but Bradley is refusing to entertain discussion about the likelihood of a second-round meeting with Bulgarian top dogs Ludogorets, who hold a two-goal lead from their first leg.

"I genuinely can’t, we saw in the second half that they (Hibernians) can be dangerous," said Bradley, who admitted to feeling nerves before the game because it was hard to be sure what to expect from a visiting team that had brought in a number of new players to cope with a suspension crisis.

"Do we fancy ourselves to go and win the game? Of course we do. We think we can go and improve again. Go to win the game. But we’ve got to make sure we respect them. I’ll let the people above me at the club look at other things. But for us, it’s focused on next week.

"We watched a lot of their games from last year but there was so much change in their group, in their squad, and they haven’t played a game, a competitive game, so it’s very hard to get to see them. And I don’t like that, you feel unprepared, you feel nervous.

"When you’re prepared, you’re calm, whatever will be will be. We said to the players, it will take 15 or 20 minutes to get a feel for them but the players adapted really well, I thought they were excellent."

Gaffney stole the show with a pair of assists before his strike - as well as a flashpoint where he was lucky to escape a red for kicking out.

However, Bradley went out of his way to mention playmaker Dylan Watts, who scored his team's second goal, adding to Ronan Finn's opener. Watts stepped up to take creative responsibility in the absence of Jack Byrne and Graham Burke.

"We were obviously missing a lot of players but the ones that have stepped up the last while were brilliant," he said,

The Halfway Line Newsletter

Get the lowdown on the Irish football scene with our soccer correspondent Daniel McDonnell and expert team of writers with our free weekly newsletter.

This field is required

"I know Rory got man of the match and deservedly so - but I thought Dylan was on a different level tonight. I thought some of the stuff, some of his touches, some of his positional play was really high level, really good.

"That performance is right up there with one of the best you’ll see in terms of how clever he was, how quick he was, his end product, his all round game. And he’s been like for quite some time, he’s matured. For me, he was outstanding."


Most Watched





Privacy