Stephen Kingsley sends out a strong Hearts message over Europa Conference League table, Fiorentina and Motherwell

It’s aesthetically pleasing for anyone connected with Hearts to study Europa Conference League Group A right now.

Istanbul Basaksehir sit top on six points with the Edinburgh club second on three. RFS and the traditionally-strong Fiorentina are third and fourth respectively with one point each after two matchdays.

The fact only two games have been played is prominent in Stephen Kingsley’s mind, one reason why the Hearts defender won’t spend much time poring over the section. The other is today’s Premiership match at Motherwell.

Thursday night’s 2-0 win against RFS in Latvia properly rekindled the fire in Hearts following six defeats in seven games. Nonetheless, European competition is now parked as domestic assignments return. Back-to-back ties against Fiorentina can wait until next month.

“I don't think we can really look at the table, even though that's probably what the Hearts fans will be doing just now,” said Kingsley. “We need to take the positives and learn from Thursday because I think we can do better.

“Fiorentina is a massive club and it's a massive challenge playing against them. We know we can compete if we are on it. We need to be strong in and out of possession. If we do that, we've got every chance.

“Nights like Thursday are brilliant, especially getting the two goals and the clean sheet. It's massive for the positivity and atmosphere in the group. We got a great result and now we need to back it up with a win on Sunday.

“We need a good performance. We didn't get the results we wanted at Motherwell last season. All eyes are on that now. We can't afford to think about travelling back or tiredness, we need to be 100 per cent ready for Sunday. After that game we can have a rest but all eyes are on Sunday now.”

Stephen Kingsley is one of Hearts' key players.

Hearts must conduct more enforced defensive changes after Craig Halkett’s hamstring injury resurfaced during his comeback outing in Riga. Lewis Neilson, his replacement on 22 minutes, is favourite to start at Fir Park.

“I don't know how many centre-half partnerships I've had this season but that's just the way it is due to injuries,” admitted Kingsley. “It's difficult for us as players having that kind of inconsistency in your back line.

“I must admit, I thought Lewis did well coming on that early in the game. I thought he dealt well with the pressure, especially on the ball. He made some great interceptions and kept the ball really well for us as well, so all credit to him.”

At 19, Neilson is a prodigious talent who should only improve with experience. "Even taking age out the equation, coming on in a game so early is always difficult,” said Kingsley. “Coming away from home against the size of the RFS boys, when you are 19 years old it's going to be tough. I felt he stood up and did well.”

Hearts travel to North Lanarkshire feeling more confident after dispatching RFS and ending a poor sequence of results. “With the run of games and defeats we have had, the lack of goals and conceding goals, that was the perfect reply,” stated Kingsley.

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