First Team

Patience is key

20th July 2016

Hearts must be prepared to be patient against Birkirkara, Head Coach insists.

Robbie Neilson insists patience will be key on Thursday night as the Jambos look to overcome Birkirkara at Tynecastle.

Despite dominating play for large periods of the game, Hearts were held to a goalless draw in the Europa League 2nd round, 1st leg tie in Malta last Thursday.

The Head Coach, however, is confident his team has what it takes to set up a showdown with Russian side Krasnodar in the third qualifying round.

Speaking to, Robbie explained why his side must be prepared to be patient on Thursday night.

“It may take some time to break them down. The key is to move the ball quickly, be positive and aggressive as they'll look to sit in.

“It could take five minutes or 80 minutes to get the goal, but we’re very hopeful of getting the win and progressing.”

Another big crowd is expected at Tynecastle for Thursday’s clash, with just over 14,000 having turned out for the last home game against FC Infonet. Robbie is adamant fans will see a big difference in his side this time out, however, with fitness levels having improved considerably in recent weeks.

“We arrived back in Edinburgh in the early hours of Friday morning and the boys reported for training later in the afternoon.

“Those who didn’t play in Malta played a closed doors game against Sunderland and did really well.  

“They’re starting to look sharper and as a result they’ve given me one or two things to think about ahead of Thursday.

“We’re in far better shape now than when we played Infonet. You see it in training, the sharpness is there and the understanding is there as well.

“We have a few new boys in and they’re starting to understand the way we play.”