London Hearts Supporters Club

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Craig Levein <-auth Paul Kiddie auth-> Tonny Kolbech Poulsen
[D Kuyt 22] ;[B Goor 58] ;[D Kuyt 83]
10 of 025 ----- E A

Jam Tarts equipped for De Kuip shock


SCOTLAND star Stephen Caldwell has fond memories of Feyenoord’s De Kuip ground - and he’s hoping Hearts will also have something special to remember from tomorrow night’s trip to Rotterdam.

The 24-year-old defender was on the bench as the Magpies snatched a dramatic last-minute victory over the Dutch giants to secure their place in the second phase of the Champions League two years ago.

Bobby Robson’s side had looked to be on the way out of the tournament until Welsh internationalist Craig Bellamy struck in the dying seconds to stun the hosts 3-2 and send the Premiership side through to further money-spinning encounters against Barcelona, Inter Milan and Bayer Leverkusen.

It was a momentous occasion for the St James’ Park club and the evening will linger long in the memory of Caldwell, who won his fifth cap for his country in the World Cup qualifier against Moldova last week.

Now with Sunderland, following loan spells at Blackpool, Bradford and Leeds United, Caldwell reckons the impressive De Kuip will make an immediate impression on the 2500 Hearts fans who will roar on the Jambos tomorrow night.

"It is a superb stadium," he said. "If memory serves me correctly there were no levels or decking, just row after row of seats going all the way up to the back of the stands.

"It was just like a huge theatre and the atmosphere was great, although pretty hostile. The Feyenoord fans are mad and I remember them going crazy behind the goals when Feyenoord scored.

"We put in a great performance and it was a phenomenal night, just about as exciting as it gets. To be on our way out of the tournament and to get the winning goal when we did which took us through to games against the likes of Barcelona and Inter Milan was unbelievable.

"It is a night I will never forget and hopefully Hearts have a good experience there tomorrow as well."

Much has been made of the attacking threat of Gullit’s side with Tynecastle boss Craig Levein a big admirer of Dirk Kuijt and Salomon Kalou, goalscorers in their side’s 2-0 victory over Roda at the weekend which sent Feyenoord to the top of the Eridivisie alongside PSV.

Caldwell anticipates the Group A clash will be a stern test for the Hearts rearguard but he is confident that in Scotland internationalists Craig Gordon, Steven Pressley and Andy Webster, the Jambos have sufficient resilience to give the underdogs a chance of causing another upset.

Levein masterminded a famous UEFA Cup victory over Bordeaux in France last season only to be sent spinning out of the competition in the return leg at Tynecastle.

This year the Hearts boss took another notable scalp with the victory over Portuguese cracks Braga, which catapulted the club into the new lucrative stages of the competition alongside Feyenoord, Schalke and Ferencvaros in Group A.

Most observers reckon it will be a damage limitation job for the Jambos in Rotterdam but Caldwell, brother of Hibs star Gary, believes they are capable of upsetting the odds again.

"Feyenoord have a lot of great players but Hearts also have good players and have already had some excellent results in Europe," he said. "A point will be a good result for them and I think they would regard that as an excellent start to the group tomorrow. They will have to work hard to have a chance and I hope they do.

"There is no doubt they will come under a lot of pressure and Craig Gordon, Andy Webster and Steven Pressley will have to be on top of their games to keep Feyenoord out.

"The three of them will be very important players on the night and as captain, I think the role which Elvis will play will be particularly crucial."

He added: "I know the game is live on television in Scotland and I’ll be trying my best to see if I can catch it down here. It’s a big week for Scottish clubs in Europe with Celtic, Rangers and Hearts all involved in important matches and it would great for the game if they could all get good results."

Gordon, meanwhile, insists being written off by people will only serve to spur Hearts on in the cauldron of the De Kuip, the popular nickname for the Feyenoord Stadium which means "The Tub". The 21-year-old impressed in the defeat at Parkhead and is looking forward to another challenging 90 minutes in Rotterdam.

Agreeing that a point would provide the Jambos with the ideal platform for the remaining Group A games, he said: "I don’t think we are expected to do too much. "A few people think we could get a beating but the boys are confident that we could go out there and do well.

"If we could get a point in Rotterdam then that would set us up nicely for our home games. If you win your matches at home in the competition, it might be enough to see you through."

Taken from the Scotsman

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