Hearts seeded in Europa League openers but Hibs miss out
UEFA will seed Hearts when they draw the Europa League first and second qualifying rounds on June 20. However, Hibs will be unseeded when they enter the tournament at the second qualifying stage.
The Easter Road club bypass the first qualifying round and enter the second as Scotland’s national cup winners. Their 3-2 Scottish Cup win over Rangers at Hampden on Saturday guarantees a spot in Europe, but their UEFA co-efficient of 3.960 means they are not expected to gain a seeding.
Hearts’ co-efficient of 6.460 will secure a place amongst the seeds for the first qualifying round, which begins on June 30. That means they will avoid potentially-hazardous teams like Maribor, Dinamo Minsk, Omonia Nicosia and Slovan Bratislava. Aberdeen will also be seeded in that draw.
Amongst the teams Hearts and Aberdeen could draw are MTK Budapest of Hungary – who currently employ former Hearts manager Csaba Laszlo as sports director – Banants Yerevan from Armenia and the Irish club Cork City.
Provided they progress, the Tynecastle side can also expect a seeding for the second qualifying round. Aberdeen could find themselves unseeded depending on the co-efficients of other teams. Hibs will definitely be unseeded. Maccabi Tel Aviv, Hajduk Split and HJK Helsinki are amongst the seeded teams Hibs could come up against. Both Edinburgh clubs are preparing to compete in Europe together in the same campaign for the first time since season 1992/93.
They will both return for pre-season training earlier than expected, with Hearts due back on June 15 and Hibs expected to resume before the end of June.
The Europa League first qualifying round takes places on June 30 and July 7. The second qualifying round is on July 14 and 21.