Andy Halliday reveals the issues facing Hearts in Riga as they try to bounce back from Basaksehir defeat

Hearts face a tall order when they run out against Riga FS on Thursday night looking to get their Europa Conference League campaign back on track.

After defeat to top seeds Istanbul Basaksehir in last week’s opening match, they now face Group A’s lowest ranked side but midfielder Andy Halliday knows victory will not be a formality after the Latvians shocked Serie A side Fiorentina.

Hearts players and staff have agreed that points against Riga over their two head-to-heads are imperative. To do that they will have to find a way to bring their lofty opponents down to size.

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"There’s a huge feeling of disappointment when you lose your opening game 4-0, especially in the manner of our second half performance. But it’s one game out of six and we played a Pot 1 team who were 23 games unbeaten going into the match.

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"It has to be a lesson. We have to take the positives from the first half and try to use that to our benefit over the remaining five games.”

Thursday’s gameplan focuses on denying their hosts many set piece opportunities.

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"I think their three centre-halves are all 6ft 2in-plus, the striker is 6ft 2in, the two midfielders are 6ft-plus. We aren't the biggest side, either,” said Halliday.

"We also spoke about the fact we've conceded too many set-pieces since the start of the season. With the height Riga have, we have to deal with that better.

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Istanbul Basaksehir's Lucas Biglia tackles Hearts Andy Halliday during their Europa Conference League match. Photo by Paul Devlin / SNS Group

"But I think we have got enough quality to go and cause [Riga FS] some real problems in Latvia."

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