O'Neill encouraged after loss

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Shamrock Rovers boss Michael O'Neill remains convinced his side will collect Europa League points after they were taught a harsh lesson by Rubin Kazan.

The Airtricity League champions were beaten 3-0 in the opening Group A tie at Tallaght Stadium as the Russians ran out comfortable winners after taking an early lead. However, O'Neill is confident Rovers will learn from the experiences as they prepare for their daunting visit to Tottenham in a fortnight's time.

He said: "I think we are capable. If we are just here fulfilling the fixtures, then there's no point in us being here, to be honest. Maybe if we hadn't conceded a goal so early, the pattern of the game could have been slightly different."

O'Neill added: "But I believe we are capable of still taking points, certainly.

"In many ways, if you look at our results in Europe, our better results have been away from home. It probably suits us better to set up from a really defensive point of view and play from that kind of platform.

"We have won in Israel and we were narrowly beaten in Italy; we have won in Belgrade and we were narrowly beaten in Copenhagen - it's only when I read those out to you that I realise how well we have done away from home.

"I still feel there are opportunities potentially for us to take points both home and away, but maybe tonight was a good thing for the players because they have seen what level is required to compete at this level of competition."

Rubin boss Kurban Berdyev was satisfied with his side's performance on a night when they stepped into the unknown.

He said: "In short, it was a good performance and a good start to the tournament that will give us confidence as we go into the next games."

Asked about Karadeniz's contribution after his belated arrival, he added: "He's a great fighter, so I had no doubts about him."

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