Motherwell assistant manager Keith Lasley has urged the players to make the most of their European adventure as they prepare to take on Coleraine in Northern Ireland on Thursday.
Lasley featured in six European campaigns in seven years during his Fir Park playing days but the club had a six-year absence before their third-placed finish secured a Europa League spot.
Stephen Robinson’s side have already seen off one of Coleraine’s domestic rivals, Glentoran, but would face a more far-flung trip in the following round with a game against Lac of Albania or Israel’s Hapoel Beer-Sheva.
Lasley, who reached the play-offs 10 years ago, said: “It’s difficult for a club of our size to get into Europe and that’s why we have to make the most of this opportunity, because it is an achievement for this club to be in European football.
“There were a lot of ups and downs but just being involved in it was a massive up, it was certainly the highlight of my career, being involved in European football for Motherwell as many times as we did.
“But the ones you remember are the ones (where) we went through. It’s nice being involved in competitions but the good memories you have are getting through and that’s what we are looking to do this week.
“We worked so hard to get into this position and we want to try and make the most of it.
“We would much rather have normal circumstances where it’s two legs and our fans are involved in both games, which brings so much more to the party.
“But that’s where we are and we have got to deal with that. It becomes more of a one-off and more of an anything-can-happen feel to it but we have still got to back ourselves over one game, or two, that we can progress however hard that will be.”
There is little danger of Robinson’s side underestimating their opponents, who are managed by former St Mirren boss Oran Kearney, given the first-round results.
Motherwell beat Glentoran 5-1 at home but the game was evenly poised until Lasley’s side took the lead after the hour mark, with the visitors down to 10 men.
“Added to that, you see the result they got in the last round away to Maribor, who are a well versed European side in both the Europa League and the Champions League,” Lasley said.
“We watched that game as part of our analysis and we know they are a determined side, like Glentoran, and it did take until the last 20 minutes or half an hour for us to eventually get on top of the match.
“We expect nothing less, it will be a tough game, they will be very well organised, we know Oran well and they will show organisation and determination, especially on their own patch.
“We know what we are up against and hopefully that Glentoran game has given us a feel for the game, and the Maribor game. The players are well warned and know what to expect.”
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