A touch of Magic in the Europa League

JIM Magilton hopes his heroics with Shamrock Rovers in the Europa League will soon see him pitting his wits against Ipswich Town in the Championship.

The former Blues play-off hero has worked closely with Rovers boss Michael O’Neill in masterminding a history-making run to the group stages of the former UEFA Cup.

And on the eve of Shamrock Rovers hosting Russian side Rubin Kazan tonight, Magilton has revealed his European success has made him thirsty for a return to club management.

Magilton, 42, said: “I’ve enjoyed it and the European experience has been a real highlight. It’s also made me hungry to get out on my own again. I’ve always been a decision maker. I’ve managed two Championship clubs and that’s the level I’d like to be working at.”

The ex-Town manager, who also made 284 starts for the club and scored a hat-trick in the play-off semi-finals in 2000, was approached by good friend O’Neill before the start of this season.

Magilton, who has known the Rovers boss since school, has worked as a consultant for the Republic of Ireland club side and played his part in their amazing European run.

A shock victory over Serbian giants Partisan Belgrade earned them a place in the group stages against Rubin – who beat Barcelona in the Champions League two years ago – Tottenham and Greek outfit PAOK Salonika.

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Of his surprise move, Magilton, who played with O’Neill in Northern Ireland’s midfield, explained: “I’ve come in with Michael in a consultancy role to basically help out a friend who is in need. I’m there to help in any way he needs me. We pick each other’s brains and bounce ideas off each other.

“My experience in senior management has allowed Michael to do more hands-on coaching, which he enjoys and it’s paid dividends in terms of the club reaching the Europa League group stage.”