Bertrand Traore played for Chelsea, Ajax and Lyon but Hearts' Alex Cochrane aims to topple the Istanbul Basaksehir striker

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Hearts’ visit to Istanbul Basaksehir looks decidedly daunting after the Turkish side won 4-0 in Edinburgh on the Europa Conference League’s opening matchday. Certainly, young defender Alex Cochrane would be forgiven a touch of trepidation entering another conflict with Bertrand Traore.

If the last meeting between the sides was a chastening experience for those in maroon, this one will be just as challenging as Basaksehir aim to win Group A ahead of Fiorentina. Traore, on loan from Aston Villa, is one of their principal attacking threats whose CV denotes a few European heavyweights – Chelsea, Ajax and Lyon among them. At 22, Cochrane is determined not to be overawed by the powerful Burkina Faso internationalist.

“Traore was very good in the first game, the way he went about his business he was cruising. He’s up there with the best players I’ve played against,” admitted the Englishman. “He has quality and has played in the English Premier League so hopefully I can keep him quiet on Thursday. I will have to be at the top of my game, then hope he has an off day too. What you learn is the step up in standards, playing against people who have been at the top level, and what it takes for them to get there and how they go about their game. You can’t have a day off, really, and it shows you how much you have to put into it to get to that standard.”

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Comprehensive defeats against Basaksehir and Fiorentina underlined the different level Hearts aspire to, even in UEFA’s third-tier club tournament. Two victories over Latvian champions RFS offers hope that they can hold their own in a group section. Qualifying again next year and putting that theory to the test is the target ahead of the final matchday. “As a group we will take away the fact we can compete in Europe,” said Cochrane. “We know we have had some bad results – at Tynecastle and away from home – but when we have a go at teams we still have the talent and capability. We just need the belief at times to go out and show that.”

Although Hearts cannot reach the knockout phase, they are aware that anything less than full focus could result in a horrible experience in Turkey. “We can’t take this game easy. It’s a big one and we have to be right at it. We don’t want to come away from there taking a really bad result, we want to have a go and see what happens,” insisted Cochrane.

“Before the Celtic game we knew we had to put in a good performance. Since then we have had two good results, one in Europe [against RFS] and one in the league [at Ross County on Sunday]. That’s what we were looking for going to Turkey this week. It’s going to be another tough one over there, we have to go again. You saw in the first game the talent they have in their team, a lot of lads with top level and international experience. They have something to play for so it’s going to be a tough game. They will want to get top spot so we will have to be at our best.”