After the biggest away win in Hearts’ European history against FC Infonet, The Scotsman takes a look at some of the highlights of the Jambos’ previous European adventures.
UEFA Cup Group A: Basel 1 – Hearts 2 (25th November, 2004)
In a group consisting of Dutch stalwarts Feyenoord, perennial Europe qualifiers Schalke, and a renewed Basel team that was coming in off the back of only their second Swiss League Championship in over 20 years, Hearts were always going to be underdogs. Having lost 3-0 to Feyenoord in Holland and 1-0 to Schalke at Tynecastle, they travelled for their penultimate group match knowing anything other than victory would likely send them out of the tournament. Midway through the first half Dennis Wyness hit a low left-foot shot past the keeper, but any thoughts of European progression seemed to be put to bed when sub Cesar Carignano executed a neat chip over Craig Gordon. Or at least that’s what the majority of fans inside St Jakob’s Park thought until Robbie Neilson, who guided Hearts to their highest scoring away win against FC Infonet on Wednesday, bulletted a shot past the Basel keeper in the last minute of the game. Hearts would go on to lose their final group game against Ferencvaros at Murrayfield, but memories of Neilson’s goal will have erased any heartache in the long term.
UEFA Cup Round 2: Bordeaux 0 – Hearts 1 (6th November, 2003)
A year previous to the Jambos’ win against Basel was their other most famous European win. Girondins de Bordeaux, a team only two years away from winning Ligue 1, fielded a team that included current Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino, ex-Arsenal striker Marouane Chamakh, then 19, and future Liverpool winger Albert Riera on the bench. Mark de Vries acted the hero for Hearts, scoring what Stuart Bathgate described in The Scotsman as “a precious poacher’s snatch of a goal”. Hearts would go on to lose the return leg at Tynecastle 2-0, but a victory in Bordeaux was deemed highly unlikely before kick-off.
Inter-City Fairs Cup Round 1: Union St Gilloise 1 - Hearts 3 (27th September, 1961
It would be wrong to leave out Hearts’ first ever victory away from home in Europe. Two-time League Champions under Tommy Walker, Hearts were inspired to victory by Norrie Davidson who scored two goals in what was only his eleventh appearance for the club. The starting XI that day included club legend John Cumming, Scottish Cup winner Bobby Kirk, Gordon Marshall who went on to play for Newcastle United, and goalscorer Bobby Blackwood who joined then English Champions Ipswich Town in 1962. 4000 people watched Hearts rally from 1-0 down after Camille Van Vaerenbergh’s opener for the Belgian club to a 3-1 victory.
UEFA Cup Round 2: FK Austria Vienna 0 – Hearts 1 (9th November, 1988)
This match occurred in what was easily Hearts’ most successful year in Europe, where the Tynecastle club eventually lost to Bayern Munich in the quarter-finals, making it difficult to select just one match from the campaign. This win over FK Austria Vienna, however, was most influential of the two away victories after a 0-0 draw at Tynecastle in the first leg. The Hearts team included Gary McKay and Walter Kidd, who between them played over 850 times for the Jambos. Described as “our best result ever in a major European match” in the programme for the next league game, Mike Galloway scored a header from close range from a Walter Kidd cross. Hearts’ travels led them to Bosnia and a meeting with Velez Mostar before ultimately coming up short against Bayern.
Inter-City Fairs Cup Round 1: Valerengens 1 – Hearts 3 (27th October, 1965)
Another 3-1 win away from home to involve John Cumming, this time away to Norweigan champions Valerengens. In front of just over 14,000 people, Hearts were fired to victory by a brace from Don Kerrigan and a goal from Tommy Traynor. According to the Glasgow Herald, Hearts were “seldom in trouble” with the Norwegian attack playing “well below form”. Kerrigan’s first, a close range header, came after a defensive blunder, with Traynor scoring from 15 yards after 22 minutes. Despite a brief Norwegian resistance with Per Knudsen scoring for the hosts, Kerrigan’s second came a minute from time and sewed up the contest. Hearts would go on to lose to Zarragoza in a third round play-off after drawing 5-5 on aggregate before the days of away goals.