Mixed emotions for Coleraine manager Oran Kearney after Europa League defeat

Coleraine's Darren McCauley and Subotica's Noboru Shimura
Coleraine's Darren McCauley and Subotica's Noboru Shimura

There was mixed emotions for Coleraine manager Oran Kearney as his side exited the Europa League on Thursday evening.

Kearney was proud of his players who pushed the full timers of Spartak Subotica all the way, but he also felt it was a missed opportunity for the club.

“I just feel that was a massive chance missed for us tonight, but not through fault of our own,” he said afterwards.

“The boys put in a massive shift over the 180 minutes, we couldn’t have asked for any more, particularly in the second half.

“I do believe that if we had scored at any stage there, because we were on the front foot, we probably would have went on and got the result.

“We probably created enough chances to win three games tonight, normally we are very prolific in our finishing, but on the one night you need it, and against a goalkeeper who had a night to remember, it just wasn’t to be.

“You have to put the ball in the back of the net at any level, particularly at this level.

“The first goal tonight was always going to be a catalyst, and if Aaron Burns effort goes in, if Stephen O’Donnell’s goes in, if Jamie McGonigle’s goes in, if any of them go in it flips the game again.

“They are a full time side, with a huge budget and sell players for millions of pounds, but their celebrations after beating us part timers show what they have been through for 180 minutes.”

However, it is another huge step for Coleraine who left The Showgrounds disappointed not to be progressing in the Europa League.

It is in sharp contrast to this time last year when they suffered a heavy defeat to Haugesund

“Credit to the boys, we have all learned a lot from last season,” said Kearney.

“We were probably too expansive too early last year.

“This year we saved it for the last 30 minutes when the tie was really alive.

“I can’t fault them tonight bar the slip at the free kick which has proved costly, but that’s the margins at this level.”