Ryan Stevenson urges Hearts to build on third place

Hearts midfielder Ryan Stevenson
Stevenson is looking forward to making his European debut with Hearts

Ryan Stevenson celebrated his new one-year contract by urging Hearts not to rest on the laurels of their third-place finish in the Scottish Premier League.

"You don't want to just do it one season and the next you just fall away," said the midfielder.

"I'm sure, as soon as we come back in, the manager will be putting that point across to us.

"Looking back, we had an exceptional season - we chased Rangers and Celtic until around March."

Stevenson, who joined Hearts from Ayr United in January 2010 and penned his new deal last week, is relishing the prospect of playing in the Europa League.

"With the signings we've made and experience we've maybe gained from that, we want to do well in Europe and push them a bit harder next year," the 26-year-old told Hearts' website.

"It'll be a new experience for me.

"Every time I do these interviews, I say 'if I look back a year and a half ago, I'm playing with Ayr United and now I have the chance of playing in Europe'.

"It's a massive step for me and it's what every footballer wants - to be playing in Europe."

Hearts are set to learn who they will face in the third qualifying round when the draw takes place on 15 July.

The Edinburgh side will be seeded in the draw, with ties scheduled for 28 July and 4 August.

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