Hibs ace tips Edinburgh rivals Hearts to defeat FC Zurich and reach Europa League group stages

He may have been partly responsible for causing them heartache last weekend, but Hibs forward Elie Youan is tipping rivals Hearts to defeat FC Zurich and make it to the Europa League.

The French striker was named as the home side’s man-of-the-match in Sunday’s 1-1 Edinburgh derby at Easter Road. When the announcement was made, Hibs were still trailing 1-0 and Youan had endured a quiet second period after an energetic performance in the first. However, he would erase any misgivings about his post-break showing with a run and cross which allowed Martin Boyle to equalise and lift the roof off the stadium with the last kick of the game.

On loan from Swiss side St Gallen – where, ironically, Hearts will face Zurich next Thursday due to their opponents home ground hosting a concert – Youan has firsthand knowledge of the strengths and weaknesses of Franco Foda’s side and is backing the Jam Tarts to defeat them.

“St Gallen’s my home, I like it a lot,” he said. “For me, Hearts are stronger than Zurich physically but technically I think Zurich are better than them.

Elie Youan in action for Hibs against Hearts in last Sunday's Edinburgh derby. Picture: SNS

"It will be a good game. But for me, Hearts will beat them.”

By creating a last-gasp equaliser for his new team-mate, Youan could barely have asked for a better introduction to the Edinburgh derby. The 23-year-old came through the ranks at local club Nantes before moving to St Gallen in 2021 following a successive loan spell. He has also spent time on loan with Mechelen in the Belgian top flight so has plenty of experience playing in big games in different countries.

He admits the spectacle of the Edinburgh derby is something different altogether as he adjusts to life in the Capital.

“Edinburgh is my first big experience. It’s the capital city and everything – the country, the city, the teams, the fans, the people – is a new and big experience in my life,” said Youan.

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“I had already played in a derby in Switzerland and the atmosphere was similar – but not like that! It was amazing, the fans played a big role in helping us during the game.”

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