Spurs and Shamrock consider draw
Tottenham will play the part of fairytale villains in the competition after being grouped with Irish giantkillers Shamrock Rovers in the group stage. For Spurs boss Harry Redknapp, the prospect of a six-hour flight to Russia to face Rubin, conquerors of Barcelona at the Nou Camp only two years ago, will be infinitely more concerning than a jaunt to Dublin. Greek PAOK are the other side in Group A. Spurs director of football administration Darren Eales admits the journey to Kazan, a city on the River Volga and 600 miles east of Moscow, would pose challenges. Eales said: "I must admit after we had Rubin Kazan first out of the hat and then PAOK from Greece I thought I might struggle to go back to White Hart Lane with that draw - but at least we got Shamrock. "It's a great fairytale for them, the first Irish club to get into the group stage of a European competition, and it's what European football is all about. "It should be a great night in Dublin. I know their stadium only holds 6,000 so I think they will need to find somewhere with a few more seats than that and it should be a cracking atmosphere there, and a great little trip for our fans." Asked whether Tottenham would have to prioritise domestic competitions, Eales insisted not. He added: "We are not going to treat this as a second-class competition but clearly we are going to have to manage our squad to make sure we get the best out of it for all competitions. That's part of the challenge of being in Europe." Shamrock beat Partizan Belgrade 2-1 on Thursday night to secure a place in Friday's draw and chairman Jonathan Roche said the Spurs fixture was a dream come true for the fans. He said: "We would have taken anybody, it's a great draw for our fans. "Tottenham are so close to us. Last night was an historic occasion for us and to top it off like this, it hasn't quite soaked in. "It's been an unbelievable two days. Five years ago we were relegated, then the fans took over the club. We won the league for first time in 16 years last season." Roche insisted that the club would first see if they could play the home legs at their 6,000-seat Tallaght Stadium but that the Aviva Stadium would be an option. He added: "We will sit down with our association and see what the best thing is for ourselves. "We might hope to use our ground because it is our home ground and that's where we will try our best to actually play. It might need a few adjustments but we will hopefully work on that first."