John McGlynn plots Hearts victory ahead of Liverpool's visit

Hearts manager John McGlynn

Europa League Qualifying - Play-Off Round

Thursday 23 August
19:45 BST
Live text commentary on BBC Sport website, live on BBC Radio 5 live

Hearts boss John McGlynn has urged his players to show belief in Thursday's Europa League play-off against Liverpool.

Tottenham hammered Hearts 5-0 at Tynecastle at the same stage of the competition last season.

"It was a bit of an anti-climax last year; all the hype and anticipation and then it was over very quickly," McGlynn told BBC Scotland.

"We want to ensure the tie's alive going into the second leg."

McGlynn is keen to avoid a repeat performance when Brendan Rodgers' side visit Edinburgh.

"You're looking to play at your absolute best and get a bit of luck along the way," said McGlynn.

Liverpool beat Belarussians Gomel 4-0 on aggregate in the previous round but lost their opening Premier League match to West Brom on Saturday.

Manager Rodgers was appointed during the summer and McGlynn, who became Hearts boss during the close season, hopes that can work to the Tynecastle side's advantage.

"They are probably still in transition with the new manager coming in and trying to get his way of playing across to the players," said McGlynn.

Hearts are also a team in transition; cost-cutting has meant that a number of the squad that lifted the Scottish Cup last season have since left.

Ian Black, Craig Beattie and Rudi Skacel all left, leaving McGlynn with a threadbare squad in stark contrast to Liverpool.

Hearts defender Danny Grainger
Hearts were humbled 5-0 by Spurs last term

"Most of the players are household names anyway," said the former Raith Rovers manager. "You're watching them on Match of the Day."

A number of Liverpool's star players will not make the journey to Scotland, including Steven Gerrard, Glen Johnson and Luiz Suarez.

However, even that was not enough to bring a smile to McGlynn's face.

"Even their bench on Saturday had Joe Cole, Charlie Adam, Andy Carroll and Jamie Carragher," commented McGlynn on the strength of the Anfield club's squad.

Central to McGlynn's plans will be the availability of goalkeeper Jamie MacDonald, whose pregnant partner is currently in hospital. If MacDonald is unable to play, new signing Peter Enckelman will deputise.

Avoiding the same sort of embarrassment that was suffered last year would represent progress for Hearts.

"We don't want to be a team who sits back and hopes it's 0-0 but, if at the end, it says 'Liverpool nil' we'll still be in the second leg," added McGlynn.

"That's not to say we'll be defensive, because we need to have one or two players on the park who will cause problems for them."

Top Stories