Hearts to forgo usual traditions for away European fixtures with stadium snub

Robbie Neilson admits he hopes a break from tradition in Europe can help Hearts enjoy a successful campaign on the continent.

Hearts won't train at the opposition stadium in Europe this season - unlike when they face Birkirkara in Malta in 2016.
Hearts won't train at the opposition stadium in Europe this season - unlike when they face Birkirkara in Malta in 2016.

After obtaining feedback from clubs with more experience on that stage, Neilson has revealed how the Gorgie outfit will forgo the opportunity to train at their opponent’s ground when they travel away in a bid to keep the players fresh.

Clubs are entitled to have a training session in the stadium 24 hours before matches in Europe in a bid to familiarise with their surroundings and shake off any stiffness from a day of travelling.

When also taking into account the obligatory media responsibilities, that can often lead to the squad not getting to their beds until late.

Hearts are guaranteed European group stage football until November and will likely kick off their campaign against FC Zurich in the Europa League play-off round on August 18 and 25. The Swiss side have a 2-0 goal lead from their third qualifying round first leg clash against Linfield.

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Explaining his plans, Neilson said: “We spoke to a few different clubs who have been in Europe, different people within those clubs.

“Most of the feedback was that you have the issues with travelling and then training. Because you have a lot of press to do, you train late at night, eat late at night, get to bed late.

“We felt it was best we do the work here and then travel over.

“Hopefully the squad is robust enough to deal with all these games.

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“I feel as if they will be ready for it.”

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