HEARTS may have missed out on a golden opportunity to close the gap on Aberdeen at the weekend but their decision to withdraw from the Intertoto could be the perfect shot in the arm for their UEFA hopes.
UEFA has worked diligently to rid the Intertoto Cup of its "meaningless competition" tag, therefore it should be no surprise to hear Hearts supporters embrace the possibility of their club entering the tournament this summer.
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HEARTS are considering entering next season's Intertoto Cup as a failsafe should they miss out on both the Champions League qualifying rounds and the UEFA Cup.
HIBS boss Tony Mowbray today insisted he's not worried by the number of chances his side have spurned in recent weeks.
HIBS may not have reaped the wished-for reward from their InterToto expedition, namely a place in the UEFA Cup, but boss Tony Mowbray believes the benefits from a second venture into the competition will be there for all to see over the coming months.
HIBERNIAN: 2 Jones 54; Dalglish 80
ULRIK LAURSEN today said he fears his ice-cool Danish team-mates could freeze if Hibs fans reproduce the white-hot atmosphere of their UEFA Cup clash with AEK Athens at Easter Road tomorrow.
HIBS captain Kevin Thomson today told his team-mates they have nothing to fear from InterToto Cup opponents Odense, insisting they are there for the beating.
SIMON BROWN today insisted the sceptics need only take a look at the names of some of the clubs involved in this year's InterToto Cup as vindication of Hibs' decision to enter the much maligned competition.
HIBS boss Tony Mowbray today revealed defender Chris Hogg was facing a race against time to be fit for Saturday's InterToto Cup clash with Danish outfit OB Odense.
STEVEN WHITTAKER today insisted that Hibs have enough in their locker to overturn their one-goal deficit to InterToto opponents Odense - even without Scott Brown in their ranks.
HIBS boss Tony Mowbray today insisted he had no regrets in releasing striker Steven Fletcher for Scotland duty even although the Easter Road outfit's InterToto Cup hopes are under threat following a 1-0 defeat by Danish club OB Odense.
ODENSE 1 Sorensen 33 pen
HIBS boss Tony Mowbray today admitted that their InterToto Cup clash with Odense is "a very difficult one to call".
HIBS star Steven Whittaker has revealed that last season's UEFA Cup collapse against Dnipro is spurring them on in this year's European adventure.
HIBS boss Tony Mowbray today revealed that his side may have to curb their attacking instincts in Denmark in a bid to ensure they keep the tie alive for the second leg at Easter Road.