Hearts boss Robbie Neilson reveals Conference League group hope and has say on Craig Gordon incident

Hearts will find out their Europa Conference League group stage opponents later this afternoon and Robbie Neilson has revealed his preference.

The Jam Tarts fell to a 1-0 defeat to FC Zurich at Tynecastle Park in the Europa League play-off second-leg.

Despite a fantastic performance across the first 54 minutes, Jorge Grant’s sending off turned the momentum of the game.

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Fabian Rohner scored with ten minutes remaining to give the Swiss Champions a 3-1 aggregate victory, leaving Hearts to drop into the Conference League.

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The likes of Villarreal, Slavia Prague, West Ham United and Fiorentina are possible opponents.

Neilson is keen to strike a balance when the group draw is made.

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“There’s a financial crisis with the cost of living crisis but the fans keep putting their hands in their pocket to support this club,” he said.

“As soon as the draw is made they will be flooding the internet looking for flights and hotels. That’s what football’s about — the fans.

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Hearts boss Robbie Neilson is keen to strike a good balance in the Conference League group. (Photo by Mark Scates / SNS Group)

“I'd like some games we can go and win and I'd like some big teams to come to Tynecastle and the fans to enjoy it. But we want to win.”

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Meanwhile, Neilson also had his say on Craig Gordon being struck by an object thrown from the area housing around 200 Zurich fans.

“It’s disappointing. You don’t want to see that in football," he said. “We’ve had it already this season at a ground we’ve been at. It’s something that has to be eradicated. You don’t want to see it.

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“I don’t know what it was. If it was a coin he’d probably have caught it.”

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Hearts reaction: Proud Robbie Neilson speaks on performance and Jorge Grant red ...

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