THE man whose goal led to one of the biggest upsets in Scottish football history believes that Gibraltar have a chance against Republic of Ireland.

Lee Casciaro scored against Glasgow Celtic for Gibraltarian outfit Lincoln Red Imps to break Brendan Rodgers’ heart in 2016. The ageing striker revealed exclusively to the Olive Press just why the Irish should not take a win for granted as they get set to face the UEFA nation since 2013.

“Now the Euro qualifiers are here we are back to playing the big boys,” said giantkiller Lee Casciaro who says half of Scotland hates him. “But after six years the older guys now know what to expect, especially defensively.

“We are playing back at the Victoria Stadium on full capacity and if we have the luck of the day it doesn’t matter what we do.”

Casciaro scores the only goal of the game against Celtic in the Champions League qualifier

Winning ways

Confidence will be a lot higher too after Gibraltar won a couple of games in 2018. Armenia were heroically beaten in their own stadium while Liechtenstein were taken down 2-1 in the Victoria Stadium.

“Playing against lower ranking nations has made it easier to compete,” Casciaro said of the Nations League where Gibraltar really start competing for the first time.

“The new manager has helped too. Julio Ribas knows what he wants from his players. He is the most professional coach we have ever had in Gibraltar.

“When he was at my club Lincoln I said he would do well at the national side and it has been proven true.”

Retirement plan

Lee Casciaro – whose work at the Gibraltar Services Police keeps his feet on the ground – has been able to meet the challenge of the local game becoming semi-professional in just five years. Now, despite being nearly forty, he isn’t planning on hanging up his boots just yet.

“I have been told I only have a couple years left in the game,” said the 38-year-old. “But I will cross that bridge when I get there. I just enjoy my football and train hard because I am still hungry.”

Tickets for the Gibraltar vs Republic of Ireland game on Saturday March 23 at 6pm are sold out. It will be followed by a home friendly against Estonia on March 26 which the GFA have said will have free entry.

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