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Young glee as Glentoran's long wait ends

Manager Scott Young said he "couldn't be any prouder" after Glentoran FC ended a 26-year wait for a European home win en route to defeating FK Renova on penalties.

Goalscorers Martin Murray and Richard Clarke flank Glentoran goalkeeper Aaron Hogg after the win
Goalscorers Martin Murray and Richard Clarke flank Glentoran goalkeeper Aaron Hogg after the win ©Press Eye (Belfast)

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.