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Eu Reds: Hapoel Haifa

Continuing our mini-series of continental anniversaries in the countdown to Cliftonville’s imminent return to Europe, we’re turning the clock back 22 years to a milestone outing on the UEFA stage.

For it was on this very day back in 1996 that the Reds registered no fewer than three milestones in an InterToto Cup Group 1 clash with Hapoel Haifa in Israel.

Trailing 1-0 at the Kiryat Eliezer Stadium, Cliftonville’s first ever European goal came courtesy of Scottish midfielder Shaun Strang, whose strike ensured the Club’s first point in European competition. Further to that – and understandably less celebrated – was the Reds’ first ever dismissal in a European game when Tim McCann was sent off.

Marty Quinn’s men finished bottom of the group but the campaign was also notable for Paul Stokes claiming the Reds’ first Euro goal on home soil in a 4-1 defeat against Germany’s VfB Stuttgart at Solitude the following week before the team’s journey ended with a 4-0 loss to Aalborg in Denmark.