Shropshire Star

Tie not over says TNS boss Craig Harrison despite Champions League win

Head coach Craig Harrison insists The New Saints will not go into next week’s Champions League return leg in Montenegro thinking it’s game over despite holding an impressive three-goal advantage.


Saints turned on the style on a memorable night in Oswestry to beat FK Dečić 3-0 in Tuesday's first leg.

Brad Young scored twice before defender Danny Davies added a third to put the JD Cymru Premier champions in a strong position at the halfway stage of the first qualifying round tie.

The return will be played at the Podgorica City Stadium next Tuesday evening.

“We know the second leg is going to be a very tough one,” said Harrison, speaking after the game. "We thought today was going to be a very tough one - it was a very tough one.

“As much as it’s 3-0 we certainly won’t be going into the game thinking that it’s game over.

“We certainly won’t be going in the game to defend for 90 minutes.

"We’ll start like we started tonight and we’ll try and score goals and we’ll try and win that tie as well if we can.”

Saints made a flying start against the Montenegrin champions as they opened up an early lead.

Young, last season’s leading goalscorer, headed Saints in front in the fourth minute when he converted a fine cross from the right from Josh Daniels.

Young was on target again just before the half-hour with another excellent header after being set up by Danny Redmond, with the goal given following a lengthy VAR review.

It quickly got even better when Davies finished well from close range to make it 3-0 seven minutes before half time after the visitors were unable to clear a corner.

Harrison said: “We couldn’t have started any better. I thought we started really bright, we got at them straightaway. We had a good tempo about us.

“Goodness me, you look at it, and 3-0 at half time, if somebody would have said that to me earlier I would have ripped their hand off.

“But then, on the flip side, I think if we’d scored one more, two more, then it’s possibly, they’re in a really tough position to come back, but I can’t be too disappointed and too greedy."

Harrison felt Saints “showed a different side to us” in the second half and was pleased how they defended with goalkeeper Connor Roberts keeping an important clean sheet.

“They threw some balls in the box and we’ve defended it,” he added. "I’m not too sure how many saves Connor’s actually made, so overall I thought the second half was pretty even.

“But I thought first half we did really well and were the better team.”

The winners of the tie will face Hungarian champions Ferencvaros in the second qualifying round of the Champions League.