Belfast Telegraph

Hegarty and Beverland planning to finish the job

Focused: Crusaders defenders Chris Hegarty (left) and Howard Beverland enjoy training ahead of tonight’s clash in the Faroe Islands
Focused: Crusaders defenders Chris Hegarty (left) and Howard Beverland enjoy training ahead of tonight’s clash in the Faroe Islands

By Steven Beacom

Chris Hegarty is determined to build on a stunning start to his Crusaders career in tonight's Europa League clash in the Faroe Islands.

Summer recruit Hegarty scored a goal and performed stylishly in defence on his debut at Seaview last week as the Crues defeated B36 Torshavn 2-0 in the first leg of their first qualifying round tie.

Now the former Dungannon Swifts ace wants to finish the job that would set up a glamour clash with Premier League outfit Wolves.

Hegarty could prove to be one of the signings of the season but rather than focus on his own display in north Belfast the modest defender was quick to deflect any praise towards his new team-mates.

"It was nice to get a goal but the clean sheet was more important," said the ex-Rangers star.

"That was the big positive for me to have that clean sheet. We made sure the backline was nice and tight and it was vital to have some communication and learn how the rest of the boys play.

"Jordan Owens led the line for us brilliantly. He set the tone from the start and I think that filtered through to everyone else in the team.

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"With the goal I couldn't miss. Billy Joe Burns put it right on my head. He was delivering balls all night and his quality is unbelievable. If you have balls coming in like that we are going to score goals."

The Crues don't need to find the net tonight to progress but don't expect them to play a defensive game in the Faroe Islands. Manager Stephen Baxter is shrewd enough to know his attacking players can hurt B36 Torshavn.

"The teams know each other now after the first leg and are aware of each other's strengths and weaknesses," added Hegarty.

"We just have to go out and worry about ourselves and get the job done. As the manager has said, a 2-0 lead is never easy to hold on to in Europe but hopefully we can get the first one and kick on from there."

Honest Hegarty makes no bones about why he moved to Crusaders.

"I know what I've come here for. I've spoken to Stephen about that and my plan is to win trophies. The club have that ambition," he says. "It's a big family club and it suits me. It was the right move for me at the time and I still believe that. It's just down to me now to keep performing and keep getting better and do whatever I can to help the team."

Defender Howard Beverland, meanwhile, expects their opponents to find another gear in the rematch.

"Before the start of the game you would have taken a 2-0 lead and we have given ourselves a great chance," said Beverland.

"We know that if we can shut them out we are through but I don't think we will have the mentally of sitting back and absorbing pressure. We have seen they can get got at at the back and a goal could put the tie to bed.

"Wolves is a massive incentive and opportunity for the players and the club but Torshavn will feel that way too and they will come out stronger than they did in the first game. It could be a tougher game than at Seaview. In Europe teams can go from one end of the pitch to the other in six passes.

"We know a bit about them but I'm sure they will put in a better performance."

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