THE New Saints players were upbeat following their 3-1 Champions League defeat against Anderlecht - insisting “the tie is not over yet”.

A stellar second half performance saw TNS dominate large periods of possession and even score past the 30-times Belgium champions to make it 2-1.

A lapse of concentration from an Anderlecht free-kick allowed the European giants to restore their two goal advantage going into the second leg on Tuesday, but TNS’ skipper Steve Evans and goalscorer Craig Jones insist they are heading to the Belgian capital with everything still to play for.

“We gave away three sloppy goals and that is something we have to work on but at times we showed we could match them, hopefully we can put it right next week,” said Evans (above), who was playing at the Racecourse Ground for the first time since leaving Wrexham last year.

“All of the lads showed a lot of character tonight and we will be travelling to Belgium with a lot of confidence.

“We have nothing to lose when we go over to their place on Tuesday - we won’t be silly but we know we have to throw caution to the wind a little bit if we are to score three goals.

“It will be a tall order but we showed that we are capable of creating chances and scoring goals. There is definitely goals in this team and we will be travelling to their place full of confidence.”

Man-of-the-match and TNS goal hero, Craig Jones (right), added: “I think we were the better team in the second half but we let ourselves down by switching off for their third goal.

“But we are by no means out of this tie because I know we can go over there and score goals. We proved against Bohemians in the last round that we can take the ascendancy in games and score goals, now we need to repeat that performance against Anderlecht on Tuesday.

“If we can repeat our second half performance today (Tuesday) then we have got a chance in the second leg. Obviously it will not be easy as over the years they have proved themselves to be a top team in Europe, but we will give it a really good go.

“Hopefully we can get the result for the fans who came out and supported us. It was a fantastic atmosphere and a great game to be involved in.”