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Take it all in lads, just like we did against great Liverpool team

"Don't let the moment pass you by". That's the message to the Crusaders players ahead of tonight's Europa League scrap with Premier League side Fulham.

And the man dishing out the advice knows all about standing up to English giants in Europe.

Roy McDonald, the highly-respected goalkeeping coach at Seaview, was between the sticks when a formidable Crusaders side wrestled with the mighty Liverpool team of the 1976-77 season.

The Crues lost 2-0 at Anfield and 5-0 at Seaview with Liverpool going on to win the European Cup that season.

Roy, the elder brother of former Northern Ireland international Alan, can remember the glamour games as if they were yesterday.

The Irish Cup winner with Distillery and Gibson Cup winner with Crusaders loved every second of his tussles with the Merseyside masters and he hopes the class of 2011 will be reflecting on their own special memories when they hang up their boots - or gloves.

"The place (Seaview) is looking absolutely beautiful and although there will be a reduced crowd, there should be a tremendous atmosphere," said McDonald.

"We were able to get 15,000 people here against Liverpool but now health and safety makes it all seating. Those games were great to play in and, believe it or not, we thought we had a bit of a chance.

"It was a great result at Anfield and that gave us a lot of hope for the home game. They had a penalty kick in the first half and then a late goal from John Toshack.

"We hit the post and crossbar before they scored at Seaview through Kevin Keegan and nine minutes before the end Liverpool got four more goals.

"We'll be telling the boys to draw it all in and don't let it pass you by.

"I got man of the match at Anfield in what was a tremendous effort from all of us.

"Anfield surprised me because after watching it on television I thought it would be massive like the Nou Camp where I made my debut for Distillery against Barcelona.

"But when I got on the pitch I could kick the ball from our 18 into their 18.

"It's the terracing and stands that are steeped away from the pitch, allowing a bigger capacity.

"There will be scouts here looking at our players against Fulham and I'm sure we can build up relationships.

"There are no big egos here at Crusaders. It's a real family club and I guess that's why I'm still here."

Belfast Telegraph


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