Barrie McKay outlines how Hearts can overwhelm Zurich at Tynecastle

If Hearts are to overturn the 2-1 first-leg deficit against FC Zurich, forward Barrie McKay believes a fast and aggressive start is vital at Tynecastle Park on Thursday.
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McKay is busy preparing for tomorrow’s Premiership visit to Celtic with manager Robbie Neilson considering some changes to keep his team fresh after midweek European exertions in Switzerland.

The Europa League play-off is very much still alive and McKay feels Hearts can unsettled the Swiss champions in Edinburgh.

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"When you go into each game you want to play your way. I think it's really important next week that we start really brightly, we start fast and get the intensity up right away," he told the Evening News.

"The tie is definitely still alive. We got the first goal on Thursday and probably then give away too sloppy goals, really. There is only one goal in it and we feel we can win the game next week.

"We still created chances and tried to implement our game while still being a bit cautious. I think we played some really good stuff. After we got the goal we were maybe a bit complacent in possession. Once we settled again we showed some real quality.

"We have really good forward players. We will trouble a lot of defences in the Scottish league and in Europe. We are still getting used to each other so, as the weeks go on, we will form some good partnerships."

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Lawrence Shankland’s penalty-kick proved to be vital to the scoreline, although Hearts finished the 90 minutes slightly frustrated that they conceded two cheap goals so soon after taking the lead.

Hearts winger Barrie McKay is relishing the trip to Celtic Park.Hearts winger Barrie McKay is relishing the trip to Celtic Park.
Hearts winger Barrie McKay is relishing the trip to Celtic Park.

McKay made his European debut in St Gallen's Kybunpark and managed to find space to create some problems against a vulnerable-looking Zurich defence.

"I've never played in Europe so it's obviously a different experience against different players," he said. "I looked forward to it and I'm looking forward to next week as well.

"I've found pockets of space in games since the start of the season. It's just about trying to get in those pockets and triying to make it count. Some things didn't come off on Thursday but you need to keep trying.”

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The diminutive attacker has the ability to cause Celtic problems as Hearts try to breach a Parkhead rearguard which has conceded just one goal so far in three league matches. They sit top of the Premiership on goal difference ahead of the weekend fixtures.

“We take Sunday as it comes,” said McKay. “Again, we need to implement our style and see what we can do. You want to play as many games but it's up to the gaffer if he rotates the squad.

"If you ask every player, they want to play every game. You get into a rhythm and want to keep it going. The more we can play together the better our relationships will be on the pitch.

"You want to play in big competitions because the games are so constant. As a professional you need to deal with that so, for us, it's Celtic next."