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<-Srce <-Type Scotsman ------ Report Type-> Srce->
John Robertson <-auth None auth-> Levan Paniashvili
[D Rosa 30]
6 of 025 ----- E H

Kisnorbo is steeling himself for another testing Euro ride

Midfielder hopes Hearts can stay on track against Ferencvaros after having to endure UEFA Cup ups and downs

PATRICK KISNORBO’S UEFA Cup campaign has been a roller-coaster ride this season - and he’s hoping the wheels don’t come off against Ferencvaros tomorrow night.

The highlight of the Australian’s brief Hearts career came with the late glory goal which clinched a 3-1 triumph over Braga at Murrayfield in September and paved the way into the inaugural group stages for the Jambos.

However, his field of dreams quickly descended into a nightmare with his dismissal against Schalke at the home of Scottish rugby, the midfielder given his marching orders for diving early in the second half of the Group A clash.

The teams were locked together at 0-0 when he was sent packing, the Germans going on to make the most of their numerical advantage to edge home 1-0.

The early bath ruled the versatile Socceroo out of the Gorgie outfit’s must-win encounter in Basel, Hearts going into the match in the Stadion St Jakob Park knowing nothing less than three points would keep alive their hopes of progress. As well as Kisnorbo, the Tynecastle side had to do without the influential Paul Hartley, whose booking against Schalke also brought a suspension.

Left behind as their team-mates jetted out to Switzerland, the pair kept in touch by text messages as Robbie Neilson’s last-minute strike earned a stunning 2-1 win and set the scene for what promises to be a dramatic 90 minutes at Murrayfield.

Kisnorbo has proved himself a more than useful performer under firstly former boss Craig Levein and now John Robertson. And having monitored his team-mates’ progress from afar in the previous round, he hopes to be more involved tomorrow.

"I thought about the red card against Schalke for a couple of days after the match but it’s well out of my mind now," he said.

"I was gutted for the manager as I thought we could have sneaked it had I stayed on as we had matched them on the park.

"It was just part of football. You don’t want to experience that sort of thing but I did and to be fair I think I am the stronger for it.

"It was very disappointing to miss out on Basel but the boys did a great job.

"I kept sending text messages to Paul Hartley, who was listening to the game on the radio and he kept me informed of what was happening. I couldn’t believe it when we won - it was such a great result to get the three points over in Basel."

Thanks to the 2-1 victory which Basel subsequently carved out in Hungary, Hearts’ fate is, unfortunately, outwith their control.

As the Jambos go head to head with Ferencvaros, the Swiss will be entertaining Dutch giants Feyenoord comfortable in the knowledge that victory over Ruud Gullit’s outfit will see them squeeze through to the last 32 of the competition, irrespective of the result in Edinburgh.

While the Hearts players cannot afford to let their focus stray for one minute against a side which recently qualified for the quarter-finals of the Hungarian Cup, the fans will no doubt have one ear on events elsewhere in Europe.

It could well lead to something of a surreal scenario but Kisnorbo knows there is no point in Feyenoord doing Hearts a favour only for things not to go as planned at Murrayfield.

"No matter what we do we can’t be sure it is going to be enough," said the Aussie.

"But we can’t worry about the other result.

"Our attentions are now fully on Ferencvaros and after missing the great night in Switzerland I am hoping I can play a part tomorrow night.

"If we can get a win and then Feyenoord manage to get the result we need in Switzerland, then it would be a great achievement for the club to get through to the last 32 and remain in Europe beyond Christmas and into the New Year.

"We have given ourselves a chance with the win over Basel and that is what we wanted to do.

"The fans have been great to us this season and hopefully with their support we can get over the line tomorrow. The supporters have been magnificent during the other games at Murrayfield and hopefully we can give them something to shout about."

He added: "The win in Switzerland lifted everyone at the club and we’re going into the game quietly confident of getting the three points. That may not prove to be enough at the end of the day but that has to be our aim and then we’ll wait and see what has happened elsewhere.

"It is going to be a tough match. There has been a bit made of the fact that Ferencvaros have gone into their winter break but they have still been playing their domestic cup-ties and also had that Basel game as well so I am not sure if that will be to our advantage at all."

The Jambos will have to produce a better performance than against Inverness Caley Thistle at the weekend, the 1-1 draw seeing Robertson’s outfit lose the chance to gain significant ground on third-placed Aberdeen after the Dons defeat to Hibs.

"As he did in Basel, I am sure the gaffer will field a team to go for goals and attack Ferencvaros. I am just desperate to play as it should be a cracking game and hopefully I did enough against Inverness on Saturday to keep my place."

Taken from the Scotsman

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