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O'Neill confident Rovers can shock Euro big boys

SHAMROCK Rovers will rub shoulders with multi-millionaires this evening as they start the next stage of their European adventure, but manager Michael O'Neill has declared that the Hoops are not just there to make up the numbers.

The Northern Irishman reckons that no club with a budget the size of the League of Ireland champions has ever competed in the group stages of European competition. It costs €2.3m a year to keep the Rovers show on the road. By contrast, Russian visitors Rubin Kazan have spent more than €50m on the group of players which have travelled to Dublin for the first night of the Europa League proper.

But O'Neill firmly believes that his players have the ability to pick up points in a group that also includes Spurs and Greek outfit PAOK Salonica.

"We're under no illusions about the quality of the opposition," he said. "But I believe we can take points in this competition -- especially at home.

"It's a big ask, but if we have the same confidence, shape and discipline as in the previous European games, then we are capable of it."

Irish Independent