Asteras Tripolis players affected by Greek fire tragedy

Asteras Tripolis skipper Kostas Triantafyllopoulos admitted tonight's Europa League match with Hibs will be overshadowed by the tragedy unfolding in Greece where wildfires have killed close to 100 people '“ with more feared dead.

Kostas Triantafyllopoulos
Kostas Triantafyllopoulos

Both sets of players will wear black armbands and a minute’s silence will be observed before kick-off at Easter Road in tribute to those who have died.

But while Triantafyllopoulos revealed none of his team-mates’ immediate families were touched by the unfolding disaster, they were acutely aware of the “unbearable” pain those affected have suffered.

He said: “It’s a national tragedy for the country but we are here to get the best result we can to at least give some pleasure to anyone interested in the game; we’ll try to make it best for the people.”

The defender admitted, however, he feels Asteras are at a disadvantage as they go into the first leg of the second qualifying round having only played three pre-season friendlies at a training camp in Poland.

And although Hibs themselves have had just those two competitive outings against the part-timers of NSI Runavik of the Faroe Islands, he insisted that was enough to give Neil Lennon’s players the edge.

He said: “Everyone knows that in pre-season friendlies no-one plays the 90 minutes, they play, 30, 45 or 60 and not all together. Hibs may not have played the strongest of teams but that will have given them a lot of confidence.”

However, he insisted Asteras feel they can win the tie with Norway’s Molde or KF Laci of Albania lying in wait.

He said: “You always have the confidence you can qualify for the next stage but we know tonight will be a difficult game for us.”