London Hearts Supporters Club

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Craig Levein <-auth Paul Kiddie auth-> Tonny Kolbech Poulsen
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Spies like us


HEARTS boss Craig Levein has stepped up his preparations for the lucrative group stages of the UEFA Cup by dispatching his coaching staff throughout Europe on various spying missions this weekend.

The Jambos secured their place in the inaugural phase of the tournament with a memorable victory over Portuguese aces Braga a fortnight ago.

The subsequent draw saw the Gorgie outfit come out of the hat alongside Dutch giants Feyenoord, Bundesliga outfit Schalke, Swiss cracks Basel and Ferencvaros from the Hungarian first division.

The opening series of games sees Levein take his team to Rotterdam for a meeting with Ruud Gullit’s side on Thursday, the first time Hearts will have faced Dutch opposition.

Their European odyssey continues next month with the visit of Germans Schalke to Murrayfield before a trip to Switzerland is followed by the final group clash with Ferencvaros.

Already in possession of a number of recent videos of Feyenoord in action, Levein will use this weekend to start building his dossier on the other Group A rivals.

Recently appointed coach Stephen Frail flew out to the Olympic Stadium in Munich to see Schalke take on the mighty Bayern today.

Immediately after today’s SPL game against Celtic at Parkhead, Tynecastle assistant boss Peter Houston was due to catch a flight to London and then onwards to Hungary for the local derby between Ferencvaros and Ujpest Doza tomorrow lunchtime.

Levein himself was due to miss the end of this afternoon’s game against Celtic at Parkhead to make a dash back to Edinburgh Airport for a flight to Paris en route to Holland for tomorrow’s league meeting between Feyenoord and Roda at the Parkstad Limburg Stadion in Kerkrade.

It’s a hectic schedule for the Hearts chief and his backroom team but one which he hopes will help reap benefits in the weeks ahead as the Jambos aim for one of the three automatic qualifying places available from the group.

"Myself and Gary Kirk are going to watch Feyenoord play Roda tomorrow," he said. "It is the only occasion we’ll have to see them before Thursday. It is not ideal timing but I do like to see opposition players for myself rather than just here about them or see them on videos.

"I prefer to watch them and see what I can do to counter-act their strengths.

"That’s why I’m going to Holland.

"Stevie Frail has also gone out to Germany to watch Schalke take on Bayern in Munich and Peter Houston is off to see Ferencvaros against Ujpset Doza.

"It is a case of spreading our net as far as we can. I already have three tapes of Feyenoord and will get more over the weekend.

"We are basically building things up, the Feyenoord fixture being the most important as it is the first one."

He added: "We will obviously be compiling dossiers on all the teams and will discuss the findings from each match.

"But for now the focus is Thursday’s game in Rotterdam and we will be doing our utmost to get a result."

Taken from the Scotsman

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