The New Saints boss Scott Ruscoe is banking on his experienced European stars to steer them through to the second qualifying round of the UEFA Champions League.

TNS threw away a two-goal lead against KF Feronikeli at Park Hall last night (Tuesday) after a Greg Draper penalty and a fine finish from Aeron Edwards gave them a deserved lead.

But a header from Mevlan Zeka goal a minute from time was added to by an Astrit Fazliu penalty in stoppage time to leave Saints dumbfounded.

But Ruscoe insists his side have the right men to complete the job in Kosovo next Tuesday and wants to see a massive improvement.

“I take a lot of positives and excitement from the fact there are a lot of players in that dressing room with plenty of European experience,” said Ruscoe, who admitted he was left disappointed by the result.

“If you look at that performance on Tuesday night, can we play better? Probably. But can we rest and be as fit next week? Definitely.

“The only thing that we have is that we’re going into the unknown a little bit, with their stadium and conditions where we’re not used to it, and we’ll be trying to play our free-flowing football.

“To be honest, we might not be able to.

“I’m not going to slate any of our players – yes, we’ve told the players about KF’s strengths and they got a goal from it.

“Had it been in the first 10 minutes, then I would have had a go at them, but because it’s down to tiredness, enforced changes and errors, then I can’t be having a go at my players.”

It was a cagey affair for the opening exchanges, with Saints only able to produce one or two shooting opportunities.

But Ruscoe admitted his game plan was to encourage his Kosovan opponents to show their hand early before Saints could apply their natural game.

And he admitted he was delighted with the contribution of striker Draper, who immediately continued his goalscoring exploits of 2018/19 with a penalty he earned himself.

“Yes we need to play at a higher tempo next but in my defence, I wanted to see what they brought to the game in the first 20/25 minutes,” he added.

“We weren’t going to play our natural game, throwing everyone forward and leaving gaps behind for them to pick us off.

“For the first 45 minutes I think we we’re ok but I agree that we had to move the ball quicker at times.

“But once we worked them out, we got that important breakthrough within five minutes – the penalty was about three minutes into the second half and no better man than in Greg to step up and score it.”

Saints’s second leg tie in Kosovo will be on Tuesday, July 16 with a kick-off at 7.45pm.