Peter Haring deserves Hearts European reward as the Austrian is set to see familiar faces

Peter Haring has been striving for this moment since joining Hearts from Austrian SV Ried in 2018; running out in European competition decked out in maroon.

It has been somewhat of a rollercoaster for the 29-year-old across the past four years. A dominating midfield presence as Hearts were early league leaders in the 2018/19 campaign. Back for the Scottish Cup final but it cost him the following season as the club were demoted to the Championship. Since then, it has been a battle for fitness, for that run of games which allowed him to get back to his best.

A trip to Switzerland to face FC Zurich in a Europa League play-off tie is the least Haring has deserved. And there will be more to follow. No wonder he is "massively" looking forward to the prospect.

"That was another reason why I wanted to stay at Hearts to experience that with this club. Every year since I've been here we've tried to get that and finally we are in Europe.

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"We want to get through and there is a bit of pressure on you. I want to enjoy the coming weeks, trips and games. Hopefully we can get the best results possible.

He added on playing at Tynecastle on a European night: "It is something special and something most of our team haven't experienced yet.

"We are looking forward to it and hopefully we do well in Europe as well."

Former team-mates

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Peter Haring is relishing a European campaign with Hearts. (Photo by Ross Parker / SNS Group)

There will be familiar faces for Haring to see when Hearts face FC Zurich in St Gallen.

Not only will he come up against former team-mate Donis Avdijaj, he hopes to be cheered on by former colleagues from his time at SC Austria Lustenau, a club based on the Austrian-Swiss border.

"When he [Avdijaj] was here I wasn't playing, I wasn't even training with the team. I was doing my own stuff due to injury. But I remember from playing with Sturm Graz in Austria.

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"He was there for two years I think and did really well there before going back to Schalke. I knew him from there and knew he is definitely a player who has his qualities."

Donis Avdijaj had a short spell with Hearts and is now with FC Zurich. (Photo by Ross MacDonald / SNS Group)

Haring added: "Austria and Switzerland, I'd say we are more mates than rivals. It is more a rivalry in skiing than football.

"I'm looking forward to it as we are playing in St Gallen and one of my former teams is just on the border so it's about a 15 minute drive from there. I'm probably going to see a few of my old team-mates and mates who were there. I'm trying to get them tickets."

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There will be another recognisable face for Haring. FC Zurich are managed by former Austrian manager.

"I don't know him personally," Haring said. "He was a coach of the Austrian national team, a coach of Sturm Graz over two periods. I played with a few players who played under him.

"I think he always wants to play football and control the game. I don't think his idea of football will have changed"

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