London Hearts Supporters Club

Report Index--> 2006-07--> All for 20060719
<-Page <-Team Wed 19 Jul 2006 Hearts 2 Osasuna 0 Team-> Page->
<-Srce <-Type Daily Record ------ Report Type-> Srce->
Valdas Ivanauskas <-auth Anthony Haggerty auth-> Craig Mackay
1 of 021 Andrius Velicka 73 ;Ibrahim Tall 90 F H

COUNTDOWN TO CHAMPIONS LEAGUE... Keeper banks on crowd to lift Jambos
By Anthony Haggerty

HEARTS keeper Craig Gordon reckons Murrayfield can inspire the Jambos to the Champions League group stage the way Hampden lifted them to Scottish Cup glory.

Edinburgh's home of rugby holds a capacity 67,500 and Gordon believes if the Jambos were able to take 40,000 fans to Glasgow in May to see them capture the famous silver trophy they will certainly turn out for a match on their own doorstep.

Hearts used Murrayfield as the base for their ill-fated UEFA Cup group campaign two seasons ago but their star stopper is confident of better luck when the team embarks on its first Champions League adventure.

Gordon said: "Murrayfield is bigger than Hampden and holds 17,000 more people.

"We took 40,000 to the National Stadium for the Scottish Cup Final and they helped inspire us to victory that day.

"If we could get that kind of crowd for some of the bigger Champions League games, if we qualify for the group stage, it would be magnificent.

"We are all looking forward to seeing how many Hearts fans turn up for the Champions League qualifying tie.

"This is a fantastic venue and the more spectators we can get in here the better it will be for the club. Considering how well we did last season, I believe we can bring a lot of supporters here to watch the Champions League."

Gordon revealed that Hearts' pre-season work has been totally geared up for the Champions League qualifying tie.

And he insisted everybody at Tynecastle is mindful of the fate Celtic suffered at the same stage last season when they were crushed 5-0 by Artmedia Bratislava and left with a mountain to climb in the return at Parkhead.

Gordon said: "Hearts know what happened to Celtic at this stage last season and we know whoever we face will be a decent side.

"The reports we got back indicated that both teams we could face are capable and will cause us problems.

"We have to be up to speed and concentrate fully on the whole game and make sure we do a professional job."

Gordon faces the biggest season of his life at club and international level with the possibility of the Champions League group stage with Hearts and facing World Cup finalists Italy and France in the Euro 2008 qualifying group for Scotland.He readily admits it is every schoolboy's dream but he is taking it all in his stride.

The keeper said said: "Qualifying for the group stage of the Champions League is a long way away and we have four difficult matches ahead of us if we are to get there.

"As for the international stage, it does not get any harder than the task we face after the performances of Italy and France at the World Cup.

"Even Ukraine got to the last eight in Germany so it is a very exciting group and the Euro 2008 qualifiers will come around soon enough.

"First of all I want to concentrate on my form at Hearts and make sure I play consistently enough to keep my place in the Scotland side."

Hearts will limber up against crack Spanish opposition Osasuna - who are in the Champions League third qualifying round after finishing fourth in La Liga behind Barcelona, Real Madrid and Valencia.

Gordon, who should reclaim his place between the sticks from Steve Banks after recovering from a slight groin injury, admits a tie against such prestigious opponents is ideal preparation ahead of the European fixture as well a chance for players to get accustomed to Murrayfield .

He added: "Everything has been geared up for this Champions League qualifying tie. This is a massive game for us and we know we must win this qualifier and we will see what happens in the second one when it comes.

"We will have done our homework on whoever our opponents are going to be and we will be ready for it.

"That is why it is a good idea to have a game at Murrayfield and reacquaint ourselves with the stadium.

"There are not too many of the UEFA Cup team who played at Murrayfield still around - and that was only a couple of years ago.

"So it is good for the players to get a feel of the place.

"Osasuna will be a really good test for us and they had a great season in the Spanish league last year.

"They will be tough opponents and it's a difficult one for us but ideal preparation going into the Champions League qualifying tie.

"I watch Spanish football on TV but don't know too much about them.

"But whatever team Osasuna put out I'm sure they will be more than a match for us.

"We will have to be at our best to get a good result against them.

"It is just great for Hearts to get a chance to play against a side who will show us a different style of European football and one we could possibly encounter in the Champions League should we reach the group stage."

Taken from the Daily Record

<-Page <-Team Wed 19 Jul 2006 Hearts 2 Osasuna 0 Team-> Page->
| Home | Contact Us | Credits | © 2006 |