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Liam Buckley: Move to Tallaght won't affect Saints in Champions League clash

Updated: Thursday, 24 Jul 2014 00:28 | Comments

Liam Buckley said St Pat's had been a tad unfortunate to not secure a win in the first league
Liam Buckley said St Pat's had been a tad unfortunate to not secure a win in the first league

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St Patrick’s Athletic boss Liam Buckley has dismissed any notion that playing their Champions League second round qualifier at Tallaght Stadium will affect his side.

The Saints go into the game on Wednesday against Polish champions Legia Warsaw level on goals after a 1-1 draw in the first leg, but having scored a potentially crucial away goal.

The game has been moved from Richmond Park to Tallaght Stadium after the Inchicore ground was deemed unsuitable due to the large crowds expected at the game.

Speaking to RTÉ Sport, Buckley was not concerned that the move might affect his team’s chances of progress.

“All our players – the bulk of them, if not them all, would have witnessed the 4-0 win [over Shamrock Rovers] we had last year here, so we’ve got good memories. I’ve won the cup here myself with Sporting Fingal [in 2009]," he said.

“For me, it’s a great venue. It’s a lovely ground. From our point of view, it’s a home venue, it’s a home game. They’re travelling. We want to get through.”

Buckley said St Pat’s had worked extremely hard in the first leg, and were “probably a little tad unfortunate not to see it out”, but said that they went in the return leg with a “minute edge”.

He admitted that he had been targeting the Warsaw game for a number of weeks, but stressed that overall, Legia were still favourites to progress.

“It’s hard to not keep a half an eye on that,” he said. It was always going to be there. That said, it was always going to be a difficult tie, and it still is. We’re still not favourites to get through the tie, bearing in mind the resources they have.”

Liam Buckley on St Pat's Champions League qualifier against Legia Warsaw

Buckley said that Legia were expecting to get past St Pat’s and even make the group stages of the Champions League, and some people were considering Saints as cannon fodder.

“I think they might have a little better picture of us now,” he said.

He praised his players' style in the first leg, saying that they had held on well to the ball “in patches”, and that although Legia had the bulk of possession in the game, St Pat’s had played well.

“When we did get it, [we] passed it, and linked it in well.”

Buckley said that St Pat’s were just trying to get through the second leg, but indicated that they would not simply be sitting on the result of the game in Warsaw.

He said: “Last year we had two away goals, away in Zalgiris in Lithuania, and it kind of passed us in the home game; we lost 2-1.

"We don’t need to be aggressively going at this, and give them opportunities. We’ll just keep it nice and tight and see where we go from there.” 

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