Champions League qualifier: Boss Ruscoe pleased with New Saints' efforts

TNS manager Scott Ruscoe
Scott Ruscoe succeeded Craig Harrison as New Saints manager in 2017

New Saints boss Scott Ruscoe was proud of his players after they fell just short against Shkendija in their Champions League qualifier.

Saints had lost 5-0 in the first leg in Macedonia and Ruscoe had said his side faced "too high" a hurdle to reach the second qualifying round.

The Welsh champions came close, winning the second leg 4-0.

"I'm just pleased that we've overturned it and showed people we can play," he said.

"I don't think anyone would have given us any chance before the game and rightly so after we played in Macedonia because we were way off it.

"I said to the players 'this is our home pitch, don't let them come and turn you over here we're not going to lie down for anyone'.

"You're looking for reactions, you're looking for goals and from minute one everyone was better than their players."

Shkendija face Torpedo Kutaisi of Georgia or Moldovan side Sheriff Tiraspol in the next round while Saints drop into the Europa League and will play Lincoln Red Imps of Gibraltar.

Saints were seeded against a Shkendija side who had won their domestic league by a margin of 35 points and scored 101 goals last season.

"We've got to do well in the Europa before we do well in the Champions League, we've got to be realistic," Ruscoe told BBC Wales Sport

"We're minnows in this Champions League.

"The Champions League is very harsh, one where they bring in better quality of teams earlier now to make our job even harder.

"It's nice to compete in it and gives us something to play for all season and we'll continue to improve and strive to do better every single year."

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