Evening all On one side, a team who feel so passionately about this game that they told most of their starters to take the night off. On the other, a team who potentially stand to earn more this evening than they would by winning their own domestic championship.
Three decades removed from the heady days of John Giles, Eamon Dunphy and Jim Beglin, Shamrock Rovers are once again revelling in the European stage . Tottenham may be ready to leave this stadium behind, but for Shamrock Rovers a night at White Hart Lane <a href="">is a dream 30 years in the making.
Whether or not Tottenham are the strongest side in this group remains to be proven - especially without their first-choice players - but as Daniel McDonnell reflected in the Irish Independent today, "this is the glamour tie, the Kodak moment". More than 2,500 Rovers fans have made the trip from Dublin, a number that will be swelled further by London's Irish population.
Not that everyone even in Dublin will be cheering them on, of course. While Rovers' status as the underdog and fan-led ownership may make them a romantic choice for the neutral, there are plenty within the capital who would just as soon see the perceived bully boys of Irish football getting a taste of their own medicine.
Team news: As expected, Sébastien Bassong, Aaron Lennon, Giovani Dos Santos, and Roman Pavlyuchenko are all among Tottenham's starting XI, but the more surprising inclusion is Jermain Defoe. A mark of how seriously Harry Redknapp is taking this game, or a sign that he won't be getting the nod to start against Arsenal this weekend? Shamrock Rovers leave the recently acquired former Tottenham midfielder Rohan Ricketts on the bench.
Tottenham: Cudicini, Walker, Corluka, Bassong, Rose, Lennon, Carroll, Livermore, Giovani, Defoe, Pavlyuchenko. Subs: Gomes, Bale, Kaboul, Modric, Falque, Townsend, Kane.
Shamrock Rovers: Brush, Sullivan, Sives, Murray, Rice, O'Donnell, Paterson, Dennehy, Finn, McCabe, Twigg. Subs: Thompson, Stevens, Sheppard, Kilduff, Turner, McCormack, Ricketts.
Referee: Gediminas Mazeika (Lithuania)
Rohan Ricketts Has been interviewed by Five before kick-off. My he does always seem like a very happy man. "I'd say maybe a decline club stature," he says when his interviewer rather bluntly asks if he considers his career to be a failure. Is it possible to adjudge your career either way when you're still only 28? Personally I'm not planning to give up hope of my own first international call-up until I'm at least 45.
Make-believe magic "Seeing unlikely teams like Shamrock Rovers doing well European competition always makes me drift off to my glory days on Championship/Football Manager," writes Martin. "Champions League final with Northwich Victoria? Happy days." Funnily enough one of my greatest ever memories of pretend management came with Derry City. Reached the Champions League group stage and won at Old Trafford in one of those happy games where your keeper just won't be beaten. Lost 6-0 at Club Brugge and went out bottom of the group, mind.
1 min Off we go. Carlo Cudicini is the first keeper to touch the ball, but it's nothing too troubling - just a comfortable slide to gather a loose ball inside the box.
2 mins And it is Tottenham, indeed, who have the first shot of the evening, Brush gathering comfortably enough after Giovani Dos Santos picked up a loose ball about 25 yards out and decided to try his luck. The shot was firmly struck, but pretty much straight at the goalkeeper in the end.
4 mins Rovers' travelling support are making an impressive racket at White Hart Lane, but perhaps unsurprisingly there are a lot of empty seats throughout the home support section. Hard to get worked up about a competition, I suppose, when your club's manager has rarely seemed especially excited to be in it.
6 mins Tottenham put together their best passage of play so far, a quick exchange of passes just outside the box concluding with another Dos Santos effort from just outside the box - this time deflected up and over the bar. The corner is too close to Brush, who plucks it out of the sky without any great fuss.
8 mins A free-kick for Tottenham now down near the touchline on the left-hand side, which looked like an ideal spot from which to swing a ball into the area, but by the time Five cut back from a replay it's already been taken short. Rose, who won the free-kick, exchanges passes with Dos Santos but the ball into the area never materialises, and Tottenham lose possession.
10 mins A round of Olés rings round White Hart Lane, but it's not from the home support. Instead it is the visiting support gloating as their team hold possession for a few moments, stringing together a few quick passes in front of their own area.
11 mins "According to Satellite TV here in the States, Tottenham are playing a team called Shamrock Rollers," notes Geoff Ashworth. "I quite like that name." Indeed, it's rather funky.
12 mins First real sight of the fit-again Aaron Lennon, who beats his man down the right and lofts a fine cross over to Pavlyuchenko on the far side of the area. Instead of taking the shot on himself, though, the striker tries to lay it off for Defoe, and Sives cuts it out for Shamrock Rovers. An appeal for handball goes up from the Tottenham support, but it's somewhat half-hearted.
14 mins Rovers do need to be careful with some of this passing about in front of their own area. Sullivan nearly has the ball picked off his toes by Livermore right on the corner of the Rovers box, but instead the Tottenham player arrives a fraction late and winds up giving away a free-kick instead.
16 mins Not for the first time, the travelling support goad their hosts with a round of "You're supposed to be at home". Or at least I assume that's what they're doing. Perhaps one of their players just snuck out for the evening without their folks knowing.
17 mins Tottenham hit the bar! Defoe is played clean through into the area by Giovani Dos Santos, but Brush is off his line sharply and manages to get just enough on the shot to push it up onto the crossbar.
18 mins Yellow card for McCabe, who appeared to clip Rose's heels as the Tottenham player surged past him down the left. Tottenham will have a free-kick just about a yard outside the area.
20 mins The free-kick comes to nothing, but Tottenham are building up a head of steam here, and Brush is called on to make another fine save just moments later after Pavlyuchenko gets in behind the visitors' defensive line. It was actually a lovely dummy from the striker that set up the chance, drawing Murray out of position as he stepped over a ball travelling across the face of the area, before slipping in behind the Rovers captain to latch onto a throughball in yards of space. Brush is on him in a heartbeat, though, and manages to block the shot with his chest.
22 mins Pavlyuchenkjo is down receiving treatment after his head collided with Paterson's elbow. I know that sounds like some kind of euphemism, but it is actually what happened - the striker slipped as he was trying to change direction inside the box and as fell headfirst into the side of the defender. No suggestion of foul play on either side, and Paterson too receives brief attention from the physio.
25 mins It's been a lively start for Danny Rose down the left and he wins another corner for Tottenham here - breaking into space on the left but seeing his cross deflected behind off a defender ...
26 mins Pavlyuchenko's near-post jab is knocked behind for another corner, but this one is hoofed clear emphatically by Murray.
27 mins "Presumably you've seen the old story about the Football Manager player who applied for the Middlesbrough job," asks Simon Davis as McCabe receives a quick throw-in on the right and thumps a 25-yard effort comfortably wide of the near post. I have indeed, Simon, but it bears revisiting. Steve Gibson earned himself huge respect from a good many fans for taking the time to respond, though I have always wondered if he subsequently got hundreds more such letters from others hoping for a similar note.
30 mins Giovani Dos Santos crashes a volley over the bar from a tight angle at the end of a series of balls back and forth across the Shamrock Rovers area. For all their pressure, Tottenham's finishing has been a bit wayward at times.
32 mins Unsurprisingly, Shamrock Rovers have been fairly restrained in their ambition so far in this game, a midfield bank of five sitting deep for the most part in front of the defence with just the one outlet up front. It's working OK.
33 mins Oooh - what a goal that would have been from Danny Rose! Finding himself in a yard of space just outside the D, he spotted Brush off his line and chipped the keeper beautifully - only to see his shot ping back out off the bar. The ball fell to Bassong inside the box, but his effort cannoned straight into the fact of Murray. The defender looks more than a little dazed.
35 mins A brief moment of anxiety there for Tottenham, as Twigg briefly seems to get goalside of Tottenham's defence on the left, before Walker recovers to win the ball back.
38 mins There has been something of a shoot-on-sight policy from Shamrock Rovers when they do get into the Tottenham half, and O'Donnell is the latest to shank one wide from the best part of 30 yards out. It was a shame on this occasion, actually, as he had men over on the left-hand side and might have tried something a little more enterprising.
39 mins Pavlyuchenko sees another shot deflected behind from a corner, and from the set-piece Bassong's header is on-target but cleared off the line by the man on the near post.
40 mins Brush so, so nearly made to pay there for a moment of sloppiness, the Rovers keeper allowing Defoe to close him down and get a boot in front of his clearance. The ball span out to Pavlyuchenko, but with Brush scrambling back across his goal, the striker puts the ball just wide of the post.
42 mins Another penalty appeal from Tottenham as Pavlyuchenko sees another shot blocked inside the area. Looked like a case of ball-to-hand for me, but I'd have to see another replay.
44 mins Well, they've ridden their luck, but the visitors are getting very close to reaching the break with the game still level. As I type that, Giovani Dos Santos cuts a low ball back across the six-yard box, but there is no team-mate following in.
45 mins One minute of added time coming up.
Peepety-peeeep! "Champions League, you're having a laugh!" crow the visiting support as the final mintues of the half tick away, though the chant nearly catches in their throats as Lennon skips into the area before losing control of the ball. It's all square at the break.
Dancing in circles "I have to admit, the only thing I can think about in this game is if it's a draw Barry Glendenning will be dancing in circles," writes Marko Ristic of my colleague. He's at the ground now Marko - in fact he's even been tweeting. Here's his latest
Stewards at White Hart Lane *frantically* busy stopping fans taking photos #importantwork Shamrock Rvrs fans having a ball
A word from Jim Magilton Here's what the Shamrock Rovers assistant had to say to Five's interviewer before the second-half resumes: "We've just got to keep going, keep believing. We've got something to hold on to. We know the next 10 minutes are very important."
46 mins Two changes for Shamrock Rovers at half-time, and one for Tottenham too. For Rovers it's Conor McCormak and the future Aston Villa full-back Enda Stevens coming on, James Paterson and Stephen O'Donnell coming off. For Tottenham, Andros Townsend replaces Aaron Lennon.
48 mins The main thing I'd say Tottenham need to do in this half is keep passing the ball. That's a rather facile thing to say, of course, but it is true that a lot of their attacks have ultimately broken down with a forward - typically Giovani Dos Santos - shooting selfishly when a team-mate might have been better positioned.
49 mins Free-kick coming up for Shamrock Rovers in a fantastic position - maybe four yards outside the box and just to the left of the D after McCabe is brought down ...
GOAL! Tottenham Hotspur 0-1 Shamrock Rovers (Rice, 50 mins) Incredible scenes at White Hart Lane, as McCabe's free-kick is blocked, but comes back out to Pat Sullivan outside the area. He sends in a low drive which Cudicini probably had covered, but Rice was standing about a yard in front of the keeper and stuck a boot out to nick it up over him and into the net.
52 mins Well if the Shamrock Rovers fans were making a fair old noise before, you should hear them now. Pandemonium in the away section at White Hart Lane.
53 mins Michael O'Neill actually looks a little panicked on the Rovers bench - as though the prospect of throwing away something this brilliant is actually too much to handle. Tottenham win a corner on the left, but Giovani Dos Santos's centre is hoofed clear by Murray.
54 mins The home support are crying for handball every time a shot gets charged down in the area now, which at the moment is about every 15 seconds. "Never mind dancing in circles, I'd say there's more chance of Glendenning falling into a fairy circle if this stays 0-0 until full-time," wrote Justin Kavanagh just before the visitors' goal. "For the uninitiated, in Irish folklore (and others) this is a circle of enchantment from which the enchanted one cannot escape for several days. It'd be touch and go whether he shows up for the Podcast on Monday."
56 mins Andros Townsend has been full of running down the left since coming on for Tottenham, but so far his crosses only ever seem to fall to men in black shirts. Tottenham as a whole haven't really gathered themselves yet since conceding that goal. It's all a bit manic.
57 mins Oh, that really should have been a fantastic chance for Tottenham, as Pavlyuchenko gets behind his man inside the area on the left, but cuts a square ball about a yard behind the run of Defoe - who would have been clean through.
58 mins My, oh my - Tottenham are pouring forwards now, and another square ball across the six yard box is totally mishandled by Brush - allowing it to run right across the goal and away on the far side without anyone following up on it.
GOAL! Tottenham 1-1 Shamrock Rovers (Pavlyuchenko, 60 mins) And there you have it - Roman Pavlyuchenko levels things at White Hart Lane with an emphatic header, powered back across Brush after Giovani Dos Santos crossed from the left.
GOAL! Tottenham 2-1 Shamrock Rovers (Defoe, 62 mins) Less than two minutes after getting level, they go in front with a goal that was almost a carbon copy of the first - the cross coming over from the exact same spot on the left only to this time be met by Jermain Defoe, whose downwards header bounces just in front of Brush before ricocheting up into the top of the net.
64 mins Moment of panic for Tottenham now as Shamrock Rovers win a free-kick about 30 yards out and McCabe plays a cheeky quick pass into the area for Twigg. The striker was clean through and rounded Cudicini, but the flag was already up for offside. Replays confirm that Twigg had indeed been lingering just behind the defensive line.
GOAL! Tottenham 3-1 Shamrock Rovers (Giovani Dos Santos, 66 minutes) The dream is being extinguished in rapid fashion here for Rovers now, as Jermain Defoe sets off on a barnstorming run before nudging the ball out to Giovani Dos Santos as his team-mate angles in from the right touchline. He finishes with aplomb, belting his shot high past the onrushing Brush and into the roof of the net.
68 mins "I won the Champions League with Bray Wanderers, 3-2 against Inter Milan in what was then Championship Manager," declares Laura in response to Martin's pre-match email (what's with the lack of surnames this evening?). "I've sort of retired since then, never managing to stick with a club longer than a few seasons for fear I will never repeat those glorious days with my part-time warrior postmen and butchers. Mind you, my marquee signing was Neil Mellor who cost us a few thousand and he scored us the winner. Thank Neil." Hmm, winning the whole thing with Neil Mellor up front? That sounds suspiciously like a little cheating may have been involved.
70 mins Rohan Ricketts is getting ready to come on for Shamrock Rovers, but not before Conor McCormack takes and optimistic punt goalwards that drops gently enough into the arms of Cudicini.
73 mins Ricketts comes on to a warm reception at White Hart Lane (albeit it's probably just the travelling fans we can hear anyway), replacing Ronan Finn. And Tottenahm will make a substitution too, Iago Falqué coming on for Defoe.
75 mins "We're going to win 4-3," insist the Shamrock Rovers fans, as Murray's attempted diagonal ball for Billy Dennehy bounces away and out for a throw-in. Tottenham seem to be content to allow the visitors a bit more of the ball now that the two-goal lead has been established.
76 mins Now McCormack thwacks one some way over the bar as he swerves across the face of the area some way out. Besides the goal itself, they've really never looked like scoring.
78 mins Another sharp save from Brush – without whose first half stops this scoreline could easily look a fair bit worse. Townsend's low cross from the left was met by Pavlyuchenko six yards out, but the keeper got down very quickly to block.
79 mins And now we go straight down the other end, where Dennehy slips in from the right and fires one wide of the far top corner. "Hi Paolo. No comment along the lines of 'Well, Rovers certainly haven't been Shams tonight?'" honks John Barry. "(There, a surname)"
80 mins Tottenham's last substition: Harry Kane on for Danny Rose, who has been rather good.
81 mins Another narrow miss from Roman Pavlyuchenko, this time poking a low effort across goal that just slips by the far post.
84 mins Maybe I should just copy and paste that 'Pavlyuchenko misses' bit. This time the ball is chested down for him as he lingers on the cusp of the D, and the striker pelts it first-time wide of the right-hand post. Meantime, here's Michael Rampling: "I love these kind of games that give the minnows a chance to shine ... and to be fair, Spurs have looked pretty good." Cheeky.
86 mins The two teams indulge in a little idle punting back and forth across the half-way line - lacking the desire and nous respectively to come up with anything more inventive.
88 mins Set free in the Rovers box once again, this time Pavlyuchenko opts to lay the ball off to Falqué, whose shot from about 10 yards out is well blocked by Brush.
90 mins Most of White Hart Lane has already emptied as we head into injury time, but not the away section, where the visiting fans are still enjoying their sing-song. "As Spurs have and continue to be Orient's feeder club as regards loan players, I've seen a fair number of Spurs youngsters over the last few seasons," announces Ian Burch. "Many of them will do well to have a career as good as Rohan Ricketts has. Townsend, though, has a chance of having a decent career."
Peep! Peep! Peeeeeep! Full-time at White Hart Lane, after one last moment of drama as Dennehy goes down under close attention from a defender inside the box. Without a replay it's hard to know whether or not it should have been a penalty, but nothing is given and in reality it would have been too late to make a difference. A thoroughly entertaining game, in any case, even if it did run out of steam a touch at the end. Shamrock Rovers certainly made a go of it, and after their opener there were a few minutes, at least, when it seemed as though they really could come away with a result. In the end, though, it wasn't to be, and Tottenham - who played some very good football at times - were certainly more than deserving of the win. Anyway, that's it from me. Thanks for reading and for all your emails. Sorry I couldn't use more.