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Lyttle hails brave Reds as Euro run ends

By Graham Luney

Cliftonville, Neil Lennon's Hibernian and Hearts all waved farewell to their Europa League adventures last night.

The Reds lost 2-0 to AEK Larnaca in Cyprus, crashing out 5-2 on aggregate, and their fate was virtually sealed when Caoimhin Bonner was sent off for a high tackle in the 11th minute.

"We had a gameplan as always but the sending off made it very difficult for us," admitted Cliftonville boss Gerard Lyttle.

"I'm very proud of the team. Their work-rate, commitment and effort in 30 degree heat was fantastic. We will take a lot of positives out of it."

Hibs were knocked out on penalties by Danish side Brondby. Ulsterman Lennon's side triumphed 1-0 thanks to a goal from captain David Gray, however that was only enough to take it to spot-kicks after the Danes won 1-0 at Easter Road last week.

John McGinn's miss proved crucial as Brondby scored all five of their penalties to move into the third round.

Hearts were booed off the pitch as they were knocked out after losing 2-1 to Maltese side Birkirkara at Tynecastle while Aberdeen made it safely through with a 4-0 aggregate win over Ventspils, with Adam Rooney's goal giving them a 1-0 win in Latvia.

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