Ibraimi celebrates as Shkendija power to victory (Image: UEFA.com)
Besart Ibraimi's four goal haul helped condemn The New Saints to a 5-0 defeat in their UEFA Champions League Qualifying Round 1 clash against KF Shkëndija in Skopje.
Ibraimi's haul, which included three goals in thirteen minutes not long after the restart, has left the Saints with a huge task in front of them if they are to turn around the deficit and progress to the next round.
An early goal for the hosts did the Saints no favours. Ibraimi found space down the left, and his cross was deflected into the path of Izair Emini, who made no mistake from fourteen yards.
Ibraimi got his first on 38', a snap shot from just inside the area catching Saints off guard and beating keeper Paul Harrison low down.
Saints struggled to impose themselves on the game, and fell further behind eight minutes after the break, Ibraimi again beating Harrison with a low drive.
The striker completed his hat trick on the hour mark with a brilliantly whipped free kick after Jon Routledge had given away a foul on the edge of the box.
He saved his best however till last. Mevlan Adili held the ball up on the D, and rolled it gently into the path of the striker who curled a delightful finish into Harrison's top corner.
The second leg is at Park Hall next Tuesday (17th), with at 19:00 kick-off.