The New Saints will face a trip to Montenegro on July 16 or 17 as the bid to achieve the club’s long-held ambition to qualify for a European competition begins in earnest.

Craig Harrison’s men, who started their pre-season campaign on Saturday with two victories back-to-back, were drawn against FK Decic in the draw for the UEFA Champions League first qualifying round.

Saints owner Mike Harris has gone on record on many occasions to say that reaching the group stages for one of the European competitions is one of the club’s main ambitions.


Under Harrison’s predecessor Anthony Limbrick, the club nearly secured a Conference League play-off round spot against Levski Sofia after beating Viktoria Plzen in Cardiff in 2021-22, but conceded two late goals in the 4-2 victory.

This gave Plzen hope and a 3-1 victory in Czechia led to a shoot-out which Saints lost.

Harrison’s men know that if they reach the third qualifying round of the Champions League, then their chances of reaching the group stages will increase.

The first leg will be home advantage for TNS as Park Hall will host until any potential third round game and will take place on July 9/10.

Then Saints will make the trip to play at FK Decic’s 2,000-seater capacity stadium, hoping for a better time out than last year’s trip to face Swedish champions BK Hacken.

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Decic, on the march to the title last season, won 20 of its 36 league games, conceding just 27 goals along the way, and it was the club’s first-ever Montenegrin league title.

The club has previously played in Europe twice; however, they failed to advance past the first qualifying round of the Europa League on both occasions, losing to Drita and Dinamo Minsk.

Most of the squad come from the country but they also have two players from neighbouring Serbia and a Brazilian called Caique Chagas.