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Stephen McPhail reminisces on Leeds United European nights ahead of Shamrock Rovers tie

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The Irish side are in Europa League action tonight.

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Shamrock Rovers take on Finnish side RoPS Rovaneimi in the first qualifying round of the Europa League tonight and for one man it is a game that reminds him of a time he played in the semi-finals of the competition with Leeds United.

Stephen McPhail featured in the UEFA Cup semi-final against Galatasaray for Leeds United in the year 2000 – a tie sadly remembered for the tragic murders of Leeds fans Christopher Loftus and Kevin Speight in Istanbul.

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On the pitch Leeds lost the tie, 4-2 on aggregate, but McPhail spoke about the experience today as he gears up for a European tie with the Irish side.

He told RTE:

“Getting to the semi-finals of the UEFA Cup against Galatasaray, I was thinking about it last night, thinking about the two games and how close we were to getting to the final that year.

"It’s a different occasion [against RoPS] bit I’m looking forward to it; it’s a great cup.”

Cardiff City's Stephen McPhail (L) in action against Leeds United's Adam Clayton

Leeds were close to the final that year, a final in which Gala eventually defeated Arsenal in Copenhagen.

The club went on to reach the semi-finals of the Champions League the following year, with McPhail again playing a part.

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However since then good times have been slim for Leeds fans and many will wonder if or when the club can return to competition on the continent.

Until then perhaps they can back McPhail, one of their old guard, as his side look to get one over on Finnish opponents tonight.

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