Hearts set to spy on Zurich and Linfield ahead of Europa League play-off

A member of Hearts’ coaching staff will visit Switzerland this week to spy on FC Zurich and Linfield in their Europa League qualifying return leg.

A Tynecastle scout watched the first match in Belfast last Thursday evening as goals from Tosin Aiyegun and Wilfried Gnonto earned Zurich a 2-0 victory. Franco Foda’s side now have one foot in the next round to face Hearts ahead of this Thursday’s second leg.

The Edinburgh club will dispatch either Lee McCulloch or Gordon Forrest, both assistants to manager Robbie Neilson, to Zurich’s Stadion Letzigrund in order to glean more information.

Hearts meet the winners of the tie in the Europa League play-off, scheduled for August 18 and 25. “We had somebody at the game on Thursday night so we have a report from that,” Neilson told the Evening News.

“This week, either Gordon or Lee will go over and watch. I think it’s important we do that, but we also need to keep our focus on the league campaign because we have a game to play against Dundee United before the European tie.

“We looked at Linfield and Zurich’s league campaign and the players they have in their team. We will read through the reports but ourselves and the players will put that to one side for now.

“It’s the old cliche of taking one game at a time. You can’t look two or three games down the line because, if you do that, you take your eye off the ball.”

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Former Austria coach Franco Foda is now in charge of FC Zurich.