First Team

Skipper ready for Europe

14th April 2016

Alim Ozturk was delighted to help Hearts book their place in Europe.

Alim Ozturk was pleased to see Hearts officially secure European football for next season, but admitted he couldn't help but feel disappointed at not coming away with three points against Inverness CT.

At a blustery Caledonian Stadium, the Jambos and the Caley Jags were held to a 0-0 stalemate in the final pre-split match of this year’s Ladbrokes Premiership campaign.

Despite failing to gain much ground on second placed Aberdeen, the point did ensure Hearts guaranteed themselves European football for the first time in four years as they hold an unassailable lead in third place.

"We’re disappointed to drop points, because we wanted to keep the pressure on Aberdeen after beating them,” the skipper conceded. “It was a tough one today, we tried everything to break them down.

“The conditions were no fun to play in, and it was difficult to create chances. 8 points is harder than 6 points to overcome, but we’re still happy to have qualified for Europe.”

A top six finish was the stated aim at the start of the season, however, Ozturk revealed the squad always believed they could push even higher. 

“Perhaps we’ve exceeded expectations in the eyes of certain people,” said Ozturk. “In the group, we always aimed higher, and we will always continue to do so. We’re not a team that wants to settle for anything.

“Next season will be difficult with Rangers returning to the league, perhaps with one other team joining them. We will see, but a harder league provides motivation.

“We have enough quality to at least repeat the efforts of this season, and we will strengthen in the summer. We will have a stronger squad, some players will leave, but others will arrive.

“European football should help us attract a better quality of player to take us to the next level, but it’s also important that we keep everybody together.

“We must keep our best players together in the squad, and we need to build around our better players, and if we can do that, I think we’re capable of doing some very good things.”