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Daily Record
Daily Record
Gordon Parks

Robbie Neilson insists depleted Hearts are summoning the spirit of Bordeaux to floor Fiorentina

Robbie Neilson insists his depleted Hearts side can deliver one of the greatest results in their history by turning their fire on Fiorentina.

The Tynecastle boss was part of a Jambos side which secured arguably their most famous win abroad with a 1-0 triumph over a star-studded Bordeaux outfit back in 2003. A Europa Conference League success on Thursday night at the Stadio Artemio Franchi would go down as one of the club's finest achievements with the odds of a Group A upset heavily stacked against them.

The Jambos arrived in Florence on Wednesday minus Michael Smith, Josh Ginnelly, Gary Mackay-Steven and Craig Halkett as they attempt to deliver an Italian Job on a side which outclassed them 3-0 at Tynecastle last Thursday. But Neilson is convinced his team can claim a victory over La Viola who are a team in domestic crisis after a 4-0 mauling from Lazio on Monday which has them languishing in 13th spot on the Serie A table.

He said: "There have been a number of good results over the years for Hearts. To come to a place like this and get something would be outstanding for us. Obviously it would be huge.

I know the fans are coming in numbers and it would be a great night for them. We know it will be tough but we are confident we can take something out of it.

"Last week was a disappointing result but this is a great opportunity for us. We have had some great European results over the years, this would be a massive one for us as well if we can do it. We understand we are playing against a top team, as we saw last week at home. It's going to take everything from us to get something from the game but it's one we are excited about."

Neilson is hoping for a marked improvement from his team which he believes underperformed last week in the loss to the Italians and he's confident his players are ready to rise to the challenge by not allowing Fiorentina to have it all their own way.

He said: "I was disappointed last week because we didn't press the way we planned to. We were against very good players and this will be just as difficult, if not more difficult because we're over here. We need to put some more pressure higher up the pitch and stop their deepest midfield player and centre-backs controlling the game.

"We would also like not to concede after four minutes like last week. We want to stay in the game, try to put some pressure on and create some chances - get a foothold in the game and put a bit of pressure on Fiorentina. It's the same at any big club. You lose a couple of games and there is going to be pressure from fans. We have had it at our place. It's part of football."


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