Tommy Breslin hopes Cliftonville can continue flying Irish League flag in Europe

Tommy Breslin
Tommy Breslin

Tommy Breslin hopes Cliftonville can keep the Irish League flag flying in Europe on Tuesday night.

Linfield and Crusaders both booked their place in the second qualifying round of the Europa League last week.

The Crues – who defeated Lithuanian side FK Ekranas 5-2 on aggregate – progressed in Europe for the first time in their history, while Linfield battled past B36 Torshavn of the Faroe Islands 3-2 on aggregate.

Cliftonville embark on their Champions League qualifying campaign against Hungarian giants Debrecen on Tuesday at Solitude (7.45pm) .

Breslin’s Reds face a formidable challenge in their Euro opener.

Debrecen have won the Hungarian title seven times in the past 10 years and played Liverpool, Fiorentina and Lyon in the group stages of the Champions League five years ago.

“It is fantastic seeing Irish League clubs doing so well in Europe,” he said.

“Linfield and Crusaders deserve a lot of praise for reaching the next round of the Europa League, and Glenavon did well despite some travel disruption.

“The Irish League clubs have had a positive European campaign to date and we’ll be trying to emulate that level of performance against Debrecen. But we know this is going to be a massive test for us.”