Newcastle United star explain a shock amid PSG crash.

KEITH GILLESPIE has backed Newcastle to win their opening home Champions League game against French giants Paris St Germain tomorrow, adding the Magpies are “not just here to make up the numbers”.

Eddie Howe’s side were held to a goalless draw against AC Milan at the San Siro last month, but former Magpie Gillespie is confident the Tyneside outfit can claim a three-point haul tomorrow and also go on to progress from arguably the toughest group in this year’s competition.

“I’ve sort of been quite confident from the draw that we would get through because I’ve always maintained that we’re always very difficult to beat at home and if we can take maximum points from home games…” said Gillespie.

“I mean it sounds easily said but I think we can do that, especially after picking up the point in the first game.

“It’s always going to be tough groups in the Champions League but you want to be playing against the types of teams we have in our group, they’re top teams but we’re going to show them that we’re not just here to make up the numbers.

“Champions League games are very different to league games, especially in the French league where they don’t have that high intensity that they play with in the Premier League.

“It’s going to be difficult, we know that, but with the crowd behind us, that first home game after 20 years, the onus is on us to take the game to them.Keith Gillespie lifts lid on how he signed for Newcastle United in a toilet  cubicle - Chronicle Live“I fully expect us to win, I really do, it will be difficult but there’s no reason why we can’t win the game.”

The return of European football to Newcastle was celebrated as front-of-shirt sponsors Sela put on a drone show on Monday night with images of the magpie mascot and home shirts with the names of star players being displayed above St James’ Park.

Gillespie is no stranger to the excitement of playing in the Champions League for Newcastle as he was part of the squad that embarked on the club’s debut campaign in the competition in 1997.

One of Newcastle’s most memorable nights came during that campaign as Faustino Asprilla scored a hat-trick to earn a 3-2 win over mighty Barcelona.

Former Northern Ireland international Gillespie provided two assists for the Colombia forward’s haul, a night he admits is unforgettable.

“It was one of those nights where everything went right for me,” Gillespie added.

“My job was pretty much putting balls into the box and luckily Tino got on the end of two of them, it’s nice to have had such a big involvement in the game.

“I get asked about it when I’m in Newcastle all the time and I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of talking about it.

“It’s great, even 26 years on people still want to talk about it because it has a place in history because it was the first Champions League game that we had.

“It’s great to be remembered for such a special game, obviously Tino with his hat-trick was exceptional that night, he just ran the Barcelona defence ragged at times up there on his own.

“It was a great night and one I’ll never forget.”

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