Football: Scots in need of talisman

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MOTHERWELL will be looking to their European talisman, midfielder Steve Kirk, to bag them a vital away goal in their Uefa Cup first-round first-leg tie against the powerful Borussia Dortmund tonight.

Kirk, who has scored five goals in only four European ties, said, with some justification: 'I like playing on this stage.'

Motherwell have still to finalise their line-up because of fitness doubts, one of which concerns Alex McLeish, their player-manager and veteran of 77 Scotland caps and numerous European ties with Aberdeen. His appearance depends on the fitness of Rab Shannon, who has a knee injury.

Borussia, runners-up in this competition two seasons ago, have invested pounds 16m in players like the Brazilian, Julio Cesar, and German international Andy Moller in an attempt to win the Bundesliga for the first time in more than 30 years.

Others including German internationals Stefan Reuter, Matthias Sammer, Karlheinz Riedle and the Swiss and Danish interntional strikers Stephane Chapuisat and Flemming Povlsen have amassed about 350 caps between them.

Irish League champions Linfield are likely to be missing two key players - striker Dessie Gorman and sweeper Noel Bailie - for tonight's Uefa Cup first- round first-leg tie against Denmark's Odense in Belfast.