London Hearts Supporters Club

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Valdas Ivanauskas <-auth Colin Duncan auth-> Nicolai Vollquartz
Aguiar Bruno [P Kapetanos 88] ;[N Liberopoulos 93]
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Edgaras: I wish we were facing Greeks at Gorgie rather than half-full Murrayfield
By Colin Duncan

HEARTS striker Edgara s Jankauskas fears his side could be blown away by AEK Athens because their Champions League clash is being played at Murrayfield.

The Lithuanian striker believes staging the first leg at Tynecastle would have given his side a huge advantage and set them up perfectly for the trip to Greece in a fort night. Hearts boasted the best home record in the SPL last season and warmed up for their crunch qualifier with an impressive 2-1 victory over champions Celtic on Sunday.

However, Tynecastle fails to meet UEFA ground criteria and although Hearts could have asked for special dispensation to play in Gorgie they opted instead for the bigger capacity at the home of Scottish rugby.

The Edinburgh side are expecting 40,000 Jambos to turn up tomorrow night but Jankauskas would prefer to be playing in front of a capacity crowd rather than a half-empty Murrayfield.

Jankauskas said: "We have a fantastic support and against Celtic you saw our fantastic fans. I would prefer to play at Tynecastle because our support would count double there.

"At Murrayfield they are a bit too far away from the pitch and I think we would have a bigger chance of beating them at Tynecastle.

"We have a chance of winning at Murrayfield as well but Tynecastle is a different story."

Hearts are just 180 minutes away from a place in the lucrative group stage of the Champions League for the first time and Jankauskas believes qualification would represent an amazing achievement.

He said: "It is very important for us to reach the group stage. It would be the biggest moment in Hearts' history."

The draw has handed Hearts a realistic opportunity to dine at European football's top table but Jankauskas, a Champions League winner with Porto, has urged a note of caution ahead of AEK's visit.

He said: "They are a technical and skilful team and they beat Benfica last week easily. They have a different style to Scottish and British teams. We have to show them a lot of respect.

"A lot of supporters won't know much about them but I have had the opportunity to play against Greek teams before and it is very tough.

"If you start letting them pass the ball about you are in trouble." AEK touched down in Edinburgh last night and vowed this is their moment in Europe.

The squad, including former Rangers flop Emerson, will train at Murrayfield this evening and coach Lorenzo Serra Ferrer said: "We want to make our fans happy."

Taken from the Daily Record

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