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Page last updated at 17:13 GMT, Thursday, 15 December 2011

Europa League as it happened


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By Saj Chowdhury

Joe_Daniel3 on Twitter: "All 3 Belgian teams topping their groups in the Europa League! Didn't see that happening in September #bbcfootball"

2236: All that's left for me is to say goodnight and make sure you're all here for the draw at 1100 GMT. I'll leave you with this blockbuster tweet from Joe_Daniel3...

Full time
FULL-TIME Shamrock Rovers 0-4 Tottenham
Marc Higginson reports: "All that effort working out permutations at half-time mattered very little in the end. Overall, it was a good performance from Spurs' second string, while Rovers can be equally as satisfied with a plucky performance."

Full time
FULL-TIME Birmingham 1-0 Maribor
Neil Johnston reports: "They might be out of Europe but the future's bright at St Andrew's thanks to Nathan Redmond. The teenager was exceptional."

Full time
FULL-TIME Udinese 1-1 Celtic
Martin Conaghan reports: "It was an unlucky night for Celtic, but the Scottish Premier League side failed to capitalise on their first-half lead and faced an uphill struggle in the second half against the Serie A leaders Udinese."

2233: Time for the full-time snap-shots.

2229: The draw for the knockout stages of the Champions League and Europa League begins at 1100 GMT on Friday - that's less than 13 hours away. We will have live text commentary of the draw on the BBC Sport website. It is one of the big days of the football season, so make sure you're here to watch those automatic updates.

2224: So we now know the last 32. From a British point of view, qualifiers Stoke will be joined by Champions League drop-outs Manchester United and Manchester City. Atletico Madrid, Ajax and Lazio are some of the other top European names in the hat for what has now, if it's OK for me to say, a competition which appears to have as many heavyweight names as the Champions League.

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From a Rangers fan, via text: "Gutted for Celtic. Sad to see a lack of Scottish competition in Europe yet again."

Celtic manager Neil Lennon: "In terms of football away from home, that's as good as we've played. I thought Fraser Forster was world-class, particularly his double save. To come away from home, in Italy of all places, and play like that is very special. I'll take a lot out of that performance. We need to play like that domestically.

Birmingham goal-hero Adam Rooney: "It's very disappointing the other result in the group hasn't gone our way, but at least we've managed to send our fans home with a win."

Celtic goalkeeper Fraser Forster: "We had so many chances and on another day we would have gone on and won the game."

JonFoxPitt on Twitter: "Birmingham out of Europe, but we scored 10 points in a difficult group and we're proud of Hughton and the lads!"

AdamLamping on Twitter: "Am I right in thinking that the only British team to lose their final game in the group stages are the only team to progress? #BBCFootball."

EUROPA LEAGUE LATEST: That's the night rounded up and, with a 1-1 draw in Belgium, both Club Brugge and Braga go through from Group H. AZ Alkmaar join FC Metalist despite a late rally from Group G rivals Austria Vienna. Atletico Madrid, Group I winners, cruise through into the knockout stages with Udinese following in their wake.

2202: And yes, I've read some of your tweets... Nathan Redmond's volley did not hit the Udinese woodwork. Hit manual refresh. Although, had he hit the Udinese crossbar it would have been arguably the greatest shot of all time.

2157: It's all over at St Andrew's too. It ends Birmingham 1- Maribor. Chris Hughton's Championship side wave goodbye to the Europa League. They get a deserved standing ovation from the home support.

2156: It's all over in Italy. It ends Udinese 1-1 Celtic. The Serie A side are through but the Scottish club are out.

2155: Birmingham are still playing but they are out after Braga and Club Brugge draw 1-1.

2154: Back to Italy now. Udinese desperately scramble the ball clear following a bout of pinball in the area. Celtic are best placed to steal qualification - they need to score. We're in added time at Birmingham and Udinese.

2153: There has been more thrilling action at St Andrew's. This time Birmingham's 17-year-old Nathan Redmond, arguably the man-of-the-match, strikes a fabulous half-volley that rattles the Maribor right-hand upright.

2149: There are five minutes (plus stoppage time) remaining in both games. If things remain as they are then all three of the British teams will be heading out of the Europa League.

jezfarley on Twitter: "Even if the Blues go out I think they've done themselves proud with a young and relatively new squad."

2148: Let's travel east to Italy and it's Fraser Forster to Celtic's rescue again. The Geordie, on loan from Newcastle, twice denies Antonio Di Natale. He first blocks the Udinese captain's shot, then pushes away a diving header seconds later. Heroic stuff.

2145: Back at St Andrew's. Birmingham are in cruise control against bottom side Maribor, who despite leading the Slovenian league by 15 points, have been very disappointing.

EUROPA LEAGUE LATEST: Tense times for AZ Alkmaar in Group G; they're still drawing at home to Ukrainian side FC Metalist while Austria Vienna are beating Malmo. If the Dutch team slip to a defeat they could find themselves dumped out of the competition.

2140: Amazing action at the Stadio Friuli. It's that man Cha Du-Ri again (I told you he was good). He meets a clearance headed out to him on the edge of the area with a volley that smacks off the post and hits Samir Handanovic. The keeper reaches out to gather the ball before it creeps in.

2136: Wow! A cross is delivered from the right and Udinese's Kwadwo Asamoah looks certain to score from five yards, but his shot hits the post and spins to safety. Celtic breathe again.

2134: Udinese go close again. This time Almen Abdi sees his shot, from inside the area, take a slight deflection and fly half a foot wide of Fraser Forster's left-hand post.

2132: News for Birmingham fans - 10-man Braga have equalised against Club Brugge. Blues are still going out, as things stand. If Braga get another goal and Birmingham win their match then the Championship club will progress.

2129: Hoops stopper Fraser Forster has to be alert again to stop a low and firm drive from Kwadwo Asamoah.

2128: Celtic need to win to go through, but Udinese look more likely to score with Antonio Di Natale and Dusan Basta both forcing saves from Fraser Forster.

2124: A good chance for Celtic. Cha Du-Ri crosses from the right and striker Georgios Samaras fails to get a good connection from 14 yards out. He's a good player that Chowdhury... er... I mean Cha Du-Ri.

2121: Premier League transfer news - Landon Donovan will re-sign on loan for Everton in January.

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From Adrian, via text: "Makes me laugh how some Spurs fans belittle the Europa league and say the have ''bigger fish to fry". Being that Spurs don't win many trophies you thought they would relish the chance of staying in Europe."

JRAsh1 on Twitter: "Spurs being knocked out tonight makes them real Premier League title contenders."

2117: Club Brugge are 1-0 up against 10-man Braga which spells doom for Birmingham. As things stand, they are more out than they were when I earlier said they were out.

2114: ...but Charlie Mulgrew fires his effort straight into the wall - poor.

2114: Celtic have a free-kick from 35 yards out...

2113: Harry Redknapp, speaking to ITV4 - "I thought when Rubin Kazan went down to 10 men that we might have a good chance and four goals would be enough. But it was a good experience for some of the younger players in our squad and they will probably go out on loan in January now. I am a big believer in the loan system and they will go and do well for somebody else now."

2111: Let's read what Tottenham boss Harry Redknapp said, after his side bowed out of the Europa League despite beating Shamrock Rovers 4-0....

2108: Under way in Birmingham v Maribor and Udinese v Celtic.

2105: Maribor keeper Jasmin Handanovic is the cousin of Udinese keeper Samir Handanovic. Blimey! All Handanovics on deck.

2105: We have an answer to, what I now call, the 'Handanovic Puzzle' (see earlier tweet).

Half time
HALF-TIME Udinese 1-1 Celtic
Martin Conaghan's HT snap-shot:
"Neil Lennon's men have been holding their own against the Italians - Georgios Samaras in particular scything his way through the Udinese defence with ease. It's going to be a tough 45 minutes in the Stadio Friuli if Celtic are to progress."

drosejr on Twitter: "That's the Celtic we know. An away lead made me think imposters went to Italy, but the team reappeared just before halftime #bbcfootball"

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From Steviestokesy, via text: "Is it any coincidence that the goalkeeper for both opposing teams from a British point of view (Maribor and Udinese) are called Handanovic? Good name for a keeper that, but surely not the most common?"

Half time
HALF-TIME Birmingham 1-0 Maribor
Neil Johnston's HT snap-shot:
"Chris Hughton will be pleased with what he has seen so far but Birmingham are heading out unless Braga can find the breakthrough against Club Brugge."

2054: It's half-time at both Udinese v Celtic and Birmingham v Maribor. As it stands both British sides are heading out of the Europa League.

Udinese goal: Poor Celtic. Captain Antonio Di Natale lashes in the equaliser from close range after Celtic defender Cha Du-Ri inadvertantly sets him up with a header back across goal.

2052: GOALFLASH Udinese 1-1 Celtic (Antonio Di Natale)

2051: Udinese are putting Celtic's defence under a lot of pressure. The Italians lack a good final ball.

craigj21 on Twitter: "Celtic leading away in Europe? Am I dreaming!"

andyvwatson on Twitter: "Celtic have now gone more than 20 mins without conceding away in Europe and looks like they are up for it. Don't want to tempt fate but…"

2046: But, let's forget attendance figures for a moment. Are Birmingham through to the next round if the scores stay like this? No. They still need a favour from Braga against Club Brugge. Despite leading, Blues are still third in Group H because the other game is goalless.

2042: We've got the attendance figure from St Andrew's - 21,436. That's a decent crowd out on this nippy night.

2033: Celtic look solid at the back and quite spritely up front. Georgios Samaras is doing wonderfully well as a link-up man for Gary Hooper. Did I go all Downton Abbey then?

Celtic goal: Could it be? Celtic take the lead in Italy, deservedly but in slightly comic circumstances. Georgios Samaras whips in a cross from the left that Udinese keeper Samir Handanovic clears. Unfortunately for the Italian side's stopper the ball hits a defender and falls extremely invitingly for Gary Hooper, who slots into an empty net from all of one yard.

2035: GOALFLASH Udinese 0-1 Celtic (Gary Hooper)

Birmingham goal: That's brought St Andrew's to life. Nathan Redmond's delightful cross finds Adam Rooney and the Birmingham man directs his header over the line from close range. Just the start Blues manager Chris Hughton demanded.

2033: Back in Italy, Udinese captain Antonio Di Natale forces a low save from Fraser Forster. Sharp stop by the youngster.

2031: GOALFLASH Birmingham 1-0 Maribor (Adam Rooney)

EUROPA LEAGUE LATEST: After 20 minutes of football there have not been any goals in any of the games that started at 2005. The one moment of note: Elderson Uwa Echiejile has been sent off for Braga in their Group H clash with Club Brugge.

2030: Rooney and the Europa League are words Manchester United fans are going to have to get used to. At St Andrew's, Adam Rooney - not Wayne - is playing his part as Birmingham go in search of the breakthrough. It's all a bit frustrating at the moment.

2028: A great chance for Celtic. Georgios Samaras slips in Garry Hooper who slides his shot a yard wide. The Hoops just need to win.

2025: But wait... Maribor's Jovan Vidovic sends his header just a yard wide of Blues' right-hand upright. Oh so close. If the Slovenian side manage a win or draw then it will be all over for Chris Hughton's men.

2024: But apart from that piece of action, it's all a little bit scrappy at Birmingham, summed up by Morgaro Gomis's clumsy foul on Ales Mertelj which earns the Blues man a yellow card.

2023: Back at St Andrew's, Maribor captain Marcos Tavares fires in a tame effort from 20 yards which is easily claimed by Colin Doyle.

2020: There are a few tackles flying in at the Stadio Friuli. Celtic striker Georgios Samaras hits the deck again.

2019: Udinese's potent Antonio Di Natale goes close to scoring, but his lob drifts a yard wide after he beat keeper Fraser Forster to the ball.

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From Tom, Edinburgh, via text: "Celtic in with a chance in group I, but I still fancy Sion to nick it. "

2013: Smells like teen spirit at St Andrews's. Lively start by Birmingham in their must-win game, with 17-year-old Nathan Redmond already teasing and tormenting the Maribor defence.

EUROPA LEAGUE LATEST: So Spurs bow out, which means teams from Greece, Russia, Belgium, Germany, Holland and Poland have all already qualified tonight. Ahead of the 2005 GMT games, take a look at how things stand in Group G - AZ Alkmaar host group winners FC Metalist knowing they need a win to guarantee qualification. Austria Vienna are still in with a sniff. In Group I, Atletico Madrid have already qualified but will be looking at the Celtic result with interest; who will end up group winners after tonight's action?

2009: By the way, Celtic have managed only one win in their last 32 European away games. Records? Pah!

2005: A draw will do for Udinese, but Celtic need to win. The Italian side have a huddle-chat before the match kicks off. I think they'll keep it tight at the back. They kick off at St Andrew's too.

2003: The teams are coming out at St Andrew's, where Birmingham face Maribor, and at Stadio Friuli, where Celtic play Udinese. Both British teams need to win as a minimum requirement.

Neil Johnston reports:
"Midfielder Jordon Mutch is on the bench after returning to the squad for the first time since August following his recovery from a broken ankle. With Stephen Carr rested, Jonathan Spector fills the void at right-back. Maribor top scorer Dalibor Volas has recovered from illness and starts."

Birmingham v Maribor
Birmingham: Doyle, Spector, Ibanez, Davies, Murphy, Redmond, Fahey, Gomis, Beausejour, Rooney, Zigic. Subs: Myhill, Caldwell, Burke, N'Daw, Mutch, Elliott, Wood.
Maribor Handanovic, Potokar, Vidovic, Rajcevic, Arghus, Cvijanovic, Filipovic, Mertelj, Mezga, Tavares, Volas. Subs: Radan, Milec, Ibraimi, Velikonja, Trajkovski, Lesjak, Beric.
Referee: Sascha Kever (Switzerland)

1959: Now for the Birmingham team and team news...

Martin Conaghan reports:
"Celtic captain Scott Brown starts after recent appearances off the bench and Victor Wanyama moves back into defence in place of Glenn Loovens. Gary Hooper is the lone striker with Ki Sung-Yueng added to the midfield and Anthony Stokes left out. Udinese include star player Antonio Di Natale."

Udinese v Celtic
Udinese: Handanovic, Benatia, Danilo, Ekstrand, Basta, Agyemang-Badu, Asamoah, Doubai, Armero, Abdi, Di Natale. Subs: Padelli, Isla, Neuton, Fabbrini, Pereyra, Pinzi, Floro Flores.
Celtic Forster, Cha, Majstorovic, Wanyama, Mulgrew, Forrest, Brown, Kayal, Ki, Samaras, Hooper. Subs: Zaluska, Kelvin Wilson, Stokes, Bangura, Toshney, George, Twardzik.
Referee: Michail Koukoulakis (Greece)

Martin Conaghan reports:
"Celtic are getting ready to play Udinese in Italy in their final match in Europa League Group I. The hosts only need a draw to qualify, but a win for Celtic would see Neil Lennon's side progress to the last 32. It's a tough Italian job, with Udinese currently enjoying one of their best domestic starts ever - they're top of Serie A having won seven out of their seven home league matches so far."

1951: Hardly time to settle. Birmingham and Celtic ties coming up.

1949: That's it. Spurs are out of the Europa League. They beat Shamrock Rovers 4-0 but fall a goal short, while Salonika failed to beat Rubin Kazan.

EUROPA LEAGUE LATEST: We're into injury time in the PAOK Salonika v Rubin Kazan clash and, with the score still at 1-1, perhaps Spurs' Irish exploits are all in vain.

Tottenham goal: Surely they can't can they? Spurs need one more goal and Salonika need to take the lead against Rubin Kazan after Harry Kane sweeps in the fourth from close range.

1947: GOALFLASH Shamrock Rovers 0-4 Tottenham (Harry Kane)

jameshart6 on Twitter: "Love spurs fans being full of how they have more important things than europe! Being knocked out fair and square!"

1946: Rovers full-back Pat Sullivan nearly scores one for the scrapbook. He races on to the ball on the edge of the area before firing a half-volley that has to be pushed away by Carlo Cudicini.

1944: Spurs substitute Iago Falque smacks the post with a low 20-yard strike. He's only been on the pitch for a minute.

1941: Tottenham midfielder Niko Kranjcar tries again for outside the area, but his shot drifts past the Rovers left-hand post. Spurs seem slighly despondent out there. Have they given up hope?

1940: We're inside the last 10 minutes of the match between Salonika and Rubin Kazan. Spurs need the Greeks to score and make it 2-1, while they themselves need to score twice.

1936: Tottenham youngster Harry Kane, who came on earlier, makes space for himself on the edge of the area before drilling in a low shot that is saved comfortably by Richard Brush.

EUROPA LEAGUE LATEST: In Thessaloniki in Greece, PAOK Salonika are exerting all the pressure, with corners and efforts raining down on the Rubin Kazan goal. Good news for supporters of Group A rivals Tottenham, but Spurs need one of those strikes to find its way in.

1934: For all you people who want a live text commentary dedicated to Udinese v Celtic then you will find it on the BBC Football homepage. Twin windows time, I think. I will also provide updates too from that crucial match.

BIRMINGHAM TEAM NEWS SNAP: Midfielder Jordon Mutch is involved for the first time since August, after recovering from a broken ankle. He starts on the bench.

JoshC_90 on Twitter: "Really confused as to why do Spurs fans all of a sudden think they're too good for the Europa League!"

1928: Shamrock Rovers' Ken Oman is through on goal but Carlo Cudicini brings him down inside the area. Surely a penalty and red card? But no, the offside flag is raised. Heartache for the home side.

1925: Shamrock Rovers have been brilliant down the right tonight. It's Billy Dennehy again who fires in a low ball across the six-yard area, but Spurs clear.

1923: Tottenham's Andros Townsend is teed up inside the area, but takes one touch too many, allowing the Rovers defence to get a block on his effort.

JaminTastic on Twitter: "Spurs fans shouldn't get too disheartened-am watching the Salonika v Rubin match & there are plenty more goals left in this one!"

1921: Shamrock Rovers substitute Stephen O'Donnell fires in an angled shot that misses Carlo Cudicini's left-hand upright by a foot. So near yet so far for the Irish side.

EUROPA LEAGUE LATEST: The complexity of the qualification situation in Group A is not replicated in Group C. The two teams who led at the start of the night - PSV Eindhoven and Legia Warsaw - are both in comfortable positions.

1916: So, to be totally clear on this - as things stand the complex issues involving Tottenham and their possible qualification have all been rendered redundant by Rubin Kazan's equaliser. Rubin currently have 11 points to Tottenham's 10. Of course, it could all change again very quickly...

1915: Jake Livermore is lucky to get away with not getting a card of any colour when he appears to bring down Shamrock Rovers' Karl Sheppard on the edge of the area. At the other end, Steven Pienaar curls a free-kick a yard wide.

1912: Sorry 'Fans of Spurs staying in the Europa League', Rubin Kazan have scored against Salonika so it's now 1-1. That means as things stand, Spurs could win 10-0 but they'd still go out, albeit in style.

1910: News from the crunch Group A match between Salonika and Rubin Kazan...

1908: Another man who always fancies a pop is Niko Kranjcar. The Croatian midfielder tries to catch out Rovers keeper Richard Brush, but the ball flies two feet over the bar.

1905: Spurs' Andros Townsend is on 'football heat'. He surges to the edge of the left-hand area again. You could read his mind - "I must curl in shot, I must curl in shot."

1903: It's back under way at the Tallaght Stadium.

Neil Johnston reports:
Having earlier labelled the Europa League an unwelcome distraction, Birmingham manager Chris Hughton admits his side are desperate to advance. "At the start of the season we said we could do without it," said Hughton. "But if we manage to get through there's possibly another exciting game on the horizon that will lift everyone." Maribor coach Darko Milanic is eager his side bow out with a win. "We might be bottom of the group, but we want the points," he said.

1859: You guys really do not realise how difficult it is to work out these permutations at BBC Sport HQ. It came to this: As things stand, Tottenham need two more goals and Salonika need to maintain their 1-0 lead over Rubin Kazan.

Adam_Clatworthy on Twitter: "I'd like to see Spurs progress in the Europa league, if only to see more of promising players like Townsend and Carroll"

Steve_Keeble on Twitter: "It's always nice to see your team win but stop scoring Spurs!"

Neil Johnston reports:
"Birmingham fans have had little to cheer about in the Championship, and currently sit 13th, but could advancing to the knockout phase of the Europa League bring their season to life? A win against Group H whipping boys NK Maribor and a Braga win at Club Brugge will see Chris Hughton's side join the likes of Manchester United and Manchester City in the hat for Friday's draw."

1854: Fancy a bit of scene setting for the Birmingham v Maribor game?

Half time
HALF-TIME Shamrock Rovers 0-3 Tottenham
Marc Higginson's HT snap-shot:
"So far so good for Spurs. They have scored three goals and could be set for a dramatic qualification."

1848: That's half-time. It's Shamrock Rovers 0-3 Tottenham.

Tottenham goal: Aye! Aye! It's only another Spurs goal. Jermain Defoe is finally let in after knocking on the door several times. Goalscorer Andros Townsend finds the diminutive England striker in the area, who turns and finds the target from close range.

1846: GOALFLASH Shamrock Rovers 0-3 Tottenham (Jermain Defoe)

1845: Spurs are on fire at the moment. Andros Townsend goes close to curling in again from 18 yards, before Jermain Defoe has another pop with a low shot.

Tottenham goal: What a cracker! Andros Townsend curls in an absolute beauty from just inside area. Is this going to be another Lyon v Zagreb?

1839: GOALFLASH Shamrock Rovers 0-2 Tottenham (Andros Townsend)

1837: The action's picking up. Spurs midfielder Niko Kranjcar fires in from 20 yards, but it was pretty tame. At the other end, James Paterson fires over for Rovers.

1834: Spurs nearly add a second straight from the restart, when Giovani Dos Santos breaks on the right and delivers a cross which striker Jermain Defoe just fails to get a connection on.

Tottenham goal: Are you getting excited Spurs fans? I'm talking about the ones who want the side to stay in the Europa League. A five-goal swing is now a three-goal swing thanks to Steven Pienaar. His angled shot from the edge of the area takes a deflection off James Paterson and beats Richard Brush.

1830: GOALFLASH Shamrock Rovers 0-1 Tottenham (Steven Pienaar)

1829: Back to the action, Tottenham go close to scoring a fluke with keeper Richard Brush forced to tip over Danny Rose's cross.

1827: Quite a few of you guys have tweeted that Pat Jennings, in the stands tonight, was also a youth player for Rovers.

1824: Rovers are causing Spurs all sorts of problems down the right. They win another corner. Captain Dan Murray manages to get a header on goal which was comfortably taken by keeper Carlo Cudicini.

1822: Good defending by Shamrock Rovers' Dan Murray. The captain sticks out a leg to take the sting out of Jermain Defoe's 20 yarder.

1820: Good news for 'Tottenham to stay in the Europa League' fans, PAOK Salonika have taken a 1-0 lead against Rubin Kazan, who have had a man sent off. Spurs needed a win and a five-goal swing at the start of the night, it's just got a whole deal easier for them.

1817: Well, Tottenham are finding it tough to break into the Rovers area. It's a little reminiscent of the match at White Hart Lane.

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From Liam in York, via text: "re anon the prospect of winning a major European title should be incentive enough, since when did Tottenham become too big for the Europa league?"

1813: Billy Dennehy delivers a free-kick into the area. Tottenham's Benoit Assou-Ekotto fails to clear his lines and the ball falls to Ken Oman, who screws his shot a couple of yards wide. Decent chance for the Irish side.

Ryn_Bru on Twitter: "I've met Pat Jennings. I was in the same box as him at White Hart Lane four years ago. He has massive hands. #BBCFootball"

1808: Tottenham striker Jermain Defoe has a couple of chances to get his shot away in the Rovers area, but the home side deals with the threat.

1805: While both teams are working each other out, just a gentle reminder that both Birmingham and Celtic are in Europa League action at 2005 GMT. The British duo must win their matches.

1803: Rovers are playing in their familiar green and white hoops while Tottenham are in their changed strip of purple.

1800: It has kicked off at the Tallaght Stadium. By the way, former Spurs keeper Pat Jennings is in the crowd.

1759: Speaking to ITV 4 about his departure after tonight's match, Shamrock Rovers manager Michael O'Neill said: "It's always sad to leave a club, but we have made good progress in the last three years. We have won trophies domestically and opened up new frontiers in Europe. Now it is time for a new challenge for me and a new direction for the club."

1756: I'm not sure what the odds are for a Rovers win, but I'm assuming they're quite long. A better punt may be on goals conceded by the home team. They have lost all of their games and have the worst goal difference (-11) of all the teams in the Europa League, but hey, you never know. Could we be set to witness one of the biggest shocks in the competition's history?

EUROPA LEAGUE LATEST: As we near the 1800 GMT kick-offs for 12 teams tonight, it's squeaky-bum time at the top of Group A. Spurs are looking to leapfrog second-placed Rubin Kazan. The Russian Premier League outfit have the best goal difference in the group, but are a point behind hosts and leaders PAOK Salonika. Kazan need a draw or better to guarantee qualification ahead of the Londoners. It's all sewn up in Group C; Dutch big-hitters PSV Eindhoven are already through as group winners, and a big victory tonight against Romanian bottom club Rapid Bucharest could put them through with the best goal difference in the Europa League.

Marc Higginson reports:
Forget Christmas or birthdays - the date inked in every Tottenham supporter's diary is transfer deadline day. On the eve of their Europa League game, Spurs boss Harry Redknapp managed to clear the clouds of possible elimination by promising a big-name signing in January. "If someone came along who we thought was special and could make a difference, we'd go for him," said Redknapp. Michael O'Neill will not be managing Shamrock in January, with the match against Spurs being his last game. "I was pretty surprised because we've had a pretty good year but it's one of those things," said Rovers captain Dan Murray.

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From Anon, via text: "I think the winner of the Europa league should get a place in the champions league qualifying rounds next season that would give teams a huge incentive to put out strong lineups."

tomgreen__ on Twitter: "safe to say 99% of us Spurs fans don't want to qualify tonight, bigger fish to fry #bbcfootball"

Marc Higginson reports: "Tottenham
leave out Luka Modric, Emmanuel Adebayor and Scott Parker. Instead, there is another opportunity for players like Jake Livermore, Andros Townsend and Danny Rose. With Niko Kranjcar supplying Jermain Defoe, there is still plenty of goals in the visitors' starting line-up. Former Spurs midfielder Rohan Ricketts starts on the bench for Rovers."

Shamrock Rovers v Tottenham
Shamrock: Brush, Sullivan, Oman, Murray, Stevens, Rice, Turner, Dennehy, Finn, Paterson, Sheppard. Subs: Thompson, O'Donnell, McCabe, Twigg, Kilduff, O'Neill, Ricketts.
Tottenham: Cudicini, Assou-Ekotto, Kaboul, Livermore, Rose, Townsend, Kranjcar, Sandro, Pienaar, Giovani, Defoe. Subs: Gomes, Falque, Kane, Carroll.
Referee: Stephan Studer (Switzerland)

1738: Now for the teams and team news from the Tallaght Stadium in Dublin.

Marc Higginson reports:
"Premier League or European glory? Tottenham may still enjoy both, but they need a helping hand from PAOK Salonika to avoid Europa League elimination tonight. Harry Redknapp's boys need to beat Shamrock Rovers and hope the Greeks topple Rubin Kazan to stand any chance of progression. That will not be enough if they fail to achieve a five-goal swing in the goal difference column. Elimination would be a bitter pill to swallow, but would it help Spurs domestically? It is Rovers manager Michael O'Neill's final game in charge later on. Does he have one final shock result in him?"

1733: Anyway, before all that there are matters to be settled. Let's set the Shamrock Rovers v Tottenham scene...

1730: I bet you're asking yourself, "yeah thanks Saj, whatever, but when's the Europa League draw for the last 32?". Well, that takes place on Friday after the Champions League draw, which begins at 1100 GMT. This website will, of course, have live text updates of both draws. I bet Manchester United and City fans can't wait.

jbutler23 on Twitter: "hoping @ShamrockRovers can do us a favour and embarass #THFC tonight. Come on #ShamrockRovers #europaleague #bbcfootball"

1725: OK you lovely lot, I want your thoughts on the action we are about to witness. So contact me via the hashtag #BBCFootball, tweet me @sajchowdhury or texting in via 81111 (UK). My colleague Phil Dawkes brought you late drama from Craven Cottage on Wednesday, don't be surprised if there are more twists and turns later.

1719: Now then, here's a quick run through of what Tottenham, Birmingham and Celtic need to do:
Shamrock Rovers v Tottenham (Group A):
Spurs are third in the group and need a win combined with a PAOK victory over Rubin Kazan and a five-goal swing in goal difference to reach the last 32.
Birmingham v Maribor (Group H):
A victory for Blues coupled with a win for Braga at Club Brugge would ensure that Chris Hughton's men progress.
Udinese v Celtic (Group I):
Celtic must beat Udinese. Simple.

SPURS TEAM NEWS SNAP: Tottenham make nine changes to their team for game against Shamrock Rovers.

1715: Early Tottenham team news coming up...

1710: Hello all. It's the last round of Europa League group matches involving Tottenham (1800), Birmingham (2005) and Celtic (2005). None of the trio have managed to seal a place in the last 32 and all three are 'must-win' games, so get ready to feel the dramatic power of live text commentary on the second biggest European club competition in the world*.
*Many believe..

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Europa League results

15 Dec 2011 23:59 UK

  • Atletico Madrid3-1Rennes
  • Aust. Vienna2-0Malmo
  • AZ Alkmaar1-1FC Metalist Kharkiv
  • Birmingham1-0NK MariborFT
  • Club Brugge1-1Braga
  • FC Copenhagen0-1Standard Liege
  • Hannover 963-1Vorskla Poltava
  • Hapoel Tel-Aviv2-0Legia Warsaw
  • PAOK Salonika1-1Rubin Kazan
  • PSV Eindhoven2-1Rapid Bucharest
  • Shamrock Rovers0-4TottenhamFT
  • Udinese1-1CelticFT

Europa Group A table snapshot

As it stood on 15 Dec 2011 23:59 UK

Position Team P GD PTS
1 PAOK Salonika 6 4 12
2 Rubin Kazan 6 6 11
3 Tottenham 6 5 10
4 Shamrock Rovers 6 -15 0

Europa Group B table snapshot

As it stood on 15 Dec 2011 23:59 UK

Position Team P GD PTS
1 Standard Liege 6 8 14
2 Hannover 96 6 2 11
3 FC Copenhagen 6 -4 5
4 Vorskla Poltava 6 -6 2

Europa Group C table snapshot

As it stood on 15 Dec 2011 23:59 UK

Position Team P GD PTS
1 PSV Eindhoven 6 8 16
2 Legia Warsaw 6 -2 9
3 Hapoel Tel-Aviv 6 1 7
4 Rapid Bucharest 6 -7 3

Europa Group D table snapshot

As it stood on 15 Dec 2011 23:59 UK

Position Team P GD PTS
1 Sporting 6 4 12
2 Lazio 6 2 9
3 FC Vaslui 6 -3 6
4 FC Zurich 6 -3 5

Europa Group E table snapshot

As it stood on 15 Dec 2011 23:59 UK

Position Team P GD PTS
1 Besiktas 6 6 12
2 Stoke 6 3 11
3 Dynamo Kiev 6 0 7
4 Macc Tel-Aviv 6 -9 2

Europa Group F table snapshot

As it stood on 15 Dec 2011 23:59 UK

Position Team P GD PTS
1 Athletic Bilbao 6 3 13
2 SV Salzburg 6 3 10
3 Paris SG 6 1 10
4 Slovan Bratislava 6 -7 1

Europa Group G table snapshot

As it stood on 15 Dec 2011 23:59 UK

Position Team P GD PTS
1 FC Metalist Kharkiv 6 9 14
2 AZ Alkmaar 6 3 8
3 Aust. Vienna 6 -1 8
4 Malmo 6 -11 1

Europa Group H table snapshot

As it stood on 15 Dec 2011 23:59 UK

Position Team P GD PTS
1 Club Brugge 6 3 11
2 Braga 6 6 11
3 Birmingham 6 0 10
4 NK Maribor 6 -9 1

Europa Group I table snapshot

As it stood on 15 Dec 2011 23:59 UK

Position Team P GD PTS
1 Atletico Madrid 6 7 13
2 Udinese 6 -1 9
3 Celtic 6 -1 6
4 Rennes 6 -5 3

Europa Group J table snapshot

As it stood on 15 Dec 2011 23:59 UK

Position Team P GD PTS
1 Schalke 04 6 11 14
2 Steaua Bucharest 6 -2 8
3 Maccabi Haifa 6 -2 6
4 AEK Larnaca 6 -7 5

Europa Group K table snapshot

As it stood on 15 Dec 2011 23:59 UK

Position Team P GD PTS
1 FC Twente 6 7 13
2 Wisla Krakow 6 -5 9
3 Fulham 6 3 8
4 Odense BK 6 -5 4

Europa Group L table snapshot

As it stood on 15 Dec 2011 23:59 UK

Position Team P GD PTS
1 Anderlecht 6 13 18
2 Lokomotiv Moscow 6 3 12
3 AEK Athens 6 -7 3
4 Sturm Graz 6 -9 3

see also
Udinese v Celtic as it happened
15 Dec 11 |  Celtic
Thursday's football photos
15 Dec 11 |  Football
Arsenal face AC Milan in last 16
16 Dec 11 |  Europe

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