Hearts speak to Celtic and Rangers ahead of trip to Zurich

Hearts manager Robbie Neilson has taken advice from staff at both Celtic and Rangers ahead of Thursday night’s Europa League play-off first-leg clash against Zurich.

Hearts manager Robbie Neilson takes his team to Zurich this week.
Hearts manager Robbie Neilson takes his team to Zurich this week.

Hearts travel to Switzerland to take on the Super League champions in St Gallen and Neilson has decided to lay down training plans that are against the grain for conventional European ties.

Instead of training at the Kybunpark on Wednesday night, Hearts will hone their preparations at Riccarton before flying over after consulting with people who have recent knowledge of matches abroad.

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“I spoke to a couple of guys at the Old Firm teams about their experiences of these European games,” Neilson told the Edinburgh Evening News. “Previously, what has always been done is that you would fly over, train at the stadium and do media.

“Nowadays you have a lot of media to do so the manager and a couple of players can miss the start of training sometimes. The team is training about eight o’clock at night having travelled all day. Then they get showered, they aren’t getting dinner till half past ten and maybe not getting to sleep until half past 12 or one o’clock.

“We felt we wanted to train here first and then travel. We will fly over, get to the stadium, do the media and have a walk around. Then we can go to bed because the players will have eaten beforehand. It’s more a physical preparation than tactical.”

The match against Zurich kicks off at 6pm BST and will be shown live on the BBC. The return leg is on Thursday, August 25 at Tynecastle.

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