Glentoran FC celebrated a little piece of club history with victory over Macedonian side FK Renova in the first qualifying round of the UEFA Europa League.
The Belfast team's 2-1 second-leg win was their first at home in European competition since a 1-0 defeat of Iceland's Fram Reykjavík in the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup in October 1985. However, it still took a 3-2 success on penalties – the first shoot-out in Europe this season – for Glentoran to earn a meeting with Ukraine's FC Vorskla Poltava in the second qualifying round.
Jubilant manager Scott Young said: "It's been a long time since the club has celebrated a home win in Europe. To beat full-time opposition and deliver such a special night for the supporters was just fantastic. I couldn't be any prouder."
Motherwell FC's Northern Ireland defender Stephen Craigan was one of the first to send his congratulations. "Stephen Craigan is a boyhood Glentoran fan and he's buzzing at the result," continued Young. "He sent a nice text congratulating us on the win. It was a lovely touch from him. To have that kind of reaction from a Northern Ireland international and to have so many other people proud of the football club is very special."
Richard Clarke and 17-year-old substitute Martin Murray were on target for the Glens in normal time, either side of Ismail Ismaili's strike for Renova. With no further goals in extra time, stand-in goalkeeper Aaron Hogg, deputising for the suspended Elliott Morris, was the shoot-out hero, saving to deny Faruk Statovci and Argjent Gafuri.
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