Jeff Spiers keeps the faith as Crusaders are held at home in Champions League qualifier

Crusaders' Michael Carvill in action with Levadia's Pikk Artu
Crusaders' Michael Carvill in action with Levadia's Pikk Artu

Crusaders assistant manager Jeff Spiers insists his team’s European odyssey is far from over!

The Shore Road men were held to a scoreless draw by FC Levadia Tallinn in the first qualifying round of the Champions League at Seaview on Tuesday night.

They now face a big challenge in the return leg in Estonia next week.

However, Spiers – taking charge due to fact that manager Stephen Baxter is currently holidaying in Spain – insists the tie is there for the taking.

“We can still go through,” he said.

“The team did superbly well despite the fact that we have had merely three training sessions and one friendly game since returning after the break.”

The Crues’ plight was made even more difficult as flying winger Gavin Whyte was out injured.

“He picked up a little ankle problem and he’s touch and go for the return match,” added Spiers. “We’ll assess him on Thursday night.

“I’m really proud of the team. To be honest, I didn’t see anything to be frightened of from the Estonians. I don’t think they had a shot on target until late on – we were beginning to flag a bit at that stage.

“I was always worried about the last 10 or 15 minutes in terms of fitness. But the lads did superbly well. I’ve no doubt we can score over there. If we manage that, it will ask a few questions of the Estonians.”