Hibs’ Europa League opponents Brondby have underlined how seriously they are taking Thursday night’s match at Easter Road by arriving in Edinburgh three days early.
Teams tend to fly in the day before such games, but the Danes touched down at Edinburgh Airport yesterday afternoon to spend time preparing for the first leg of the second qualifying round in the Capital.
And head coach Alexander Zorniger immediately dismissed the suggestion his side are favourites given that Hibs area Championship side, insisting: “I know Hibs are in the second division but I do not care, we will not under-estimate them.”
Having been appointed to his current job only three months ago, German-born Zorniger believes an extended stay in Edinburgh will help prepare his side not only for Thursday night but the beginning of their own domestic season on Sunday when they face Esjberg in Copenhagen before Hibs travel to the Danish capital for the second leg next week.
He said: “I am a new coach and I wanted to have the guys for a few days to get to know them so we decided to have a longer stay in wonderful Scotland.
“I know Hibs won the Scottish Cup and that’s why they are in the Europa League and that the beat Rangers. I also know they are in the same situation as ourselves in that they have a new coach.
“I know they will be strong opponents with an experienced coach, but we will be focused on our own game.”
Brondby have the benefit of having had those two competitive matches against Iceland side Valur in the previous round, Hibs boss Neil Lennon having sent his assistant Garry Paraker to take in the first match in Reykjavik, while another member of his backroom staff witnessed the 6-0 win in Copenhagen which completed a 10-1 aggregate win for Zorniger’s players.
However, Zorniger made little of such an emphatic victory, saying: “We have only been practising for three-and-a-half weeks, we are still in our pre-season. We start our season on Sunday and then we will wee where we have to work at our game.”
Included in the Brondby squad which arrived yesterday was Finnish striker Teemu Pukki, a £3million signing for Celtic by Lennon, although the 25-year-old’s time in Glasgow proved unsuccessful, leading to his move to Denmark.
However, Zorniger said: “I haven’t spoken to Teemu about it, but I’m sure there will be a warm welcome for him.”