Infonet take inspiration from Iceland as they prepare to face Hearts

Vladimir Voskoboinikov has been capped by Estonia
Vladimir Voskoboinikov has been capped by Estonia
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FC INFONET arrived in Edinburgh last night claiming they are here to knock Hearts out of the Europa League.

The Estonians trained at Tynecastle after borrowing some Hearts kit because theirs was lost in transit from Tallinn.

Travel disruption and visa problems also affected their journey, but coach Aleksandr Pushtov and striker Vladimir Voskoboinikov said their team are here to win the tie.

To do so, they plan to use Iceland’s unexpected Euro 2016 triumph over England as inspiration.

“Of course I expect to win, otherwise why come here? We are ready for fighting. Hearts play typical British football, they play long balls and are big athletes but we are not the ballboys,” said Voskoboinikov, the 33-year-old Estonian international forward.

“We want to show Hearts that Estonians can also play football. I understand why Hearts think it is good to play an Estonian team who has never played in Europe.

“England were the big favourites against Iceland and they are already at home. We hope in this game that Hearts will be England and we will be Iceland.”

Pushtov added: “Iceland showed us the example. England are a very strong team but maybe Iceland had more will to win. It’s our first time in the Europa League so we are not the favourites in this game.”

Infonet would be happy to avoid defeat this evening in their first ever European tie. “It is most important not to lose. Everybody understands this,” added Voskoboinikov.

Some of the striker’s non-EU team-mates had problems obtaining visas to enter Britain, and the club have been forced to use six different flights to transport their squad to and from Edinburgh.

Pushtov stressed that the experience within his team will be vital if they are to handle the occasion. “We have players who have played for their national team so they already have experience of playing abroad,” said the 52-year-old.

“This is not a shock for players who already have this experience but we think it may be a little frightening for our young players who will make their debut for the team abroad.”

Formed in 2002, the Europa League first qualifying round first leg is the most high-profile match in Infonet’s 14-year existence.

“It’s the biggest game we have had in our club history,” said media officer Karina Massalskaja. “We are quite a new team. This is our fourth year in the Premier League in Estonia so this is our biggest game yet.”