Peter Haring has warned his Hearts colleagues not to allow thoughts of Europe to distract them from Sunday’s cinch Premiership match at home to Dundee United.
The Tynecastle side begin their eagerly-awaited continental campaign with the first leg of their Europa League play-off away to Swiss champions FC Zurich on Thursday.
However, Haring is adamant they must keep the focus fully on domestic matters this weekend.
“We’re all excited about the week ahead but the focus is on Dundee United on Sunday,” said the Austrian midfielder. “The game next week will take care of itself, everyone is excited to play in Europe and go abroad, but our bread and butter is the league.
“That is what got us into Europe and hopefully will get us there again, so the full focus is on Dundee United.”
Hearts’ opponents go into Sunday’s game reeling from a humiliating 7-0 defeat away to AZ Alkmaar in the second leg of their Europa Conference League third qualifying round tie. Haring admits it is hard gauge how United will respond.
“You never know,” he said. “Everyone reacts different. It was a different competition so I don’t think it will change too much what they are trying to do.
“I think we should ignore the result on Thursday. I think they are a good side. They made it to the European qualifiers so that shows they did really well last season and that they have a good team.”
Hearts themselves are aiming to bounce back from a disappointment of their own after a stoppage-time equaliser from Hibernian’s Martin Boyle denied them a victory in last Sunday’s Edinburgh derby.
“Last week was disappointing because we all know we could have done better with the way we lost the last-minute goal, but when you look at the bigger picture, the overall performance was good enough to win the game,” said Haring.
“We can be confident going into our next game. We know what we’re trying to do and we have enough quality to play the way we want to. The first game of the season (a 2-1 win at home to Ross County) was not good enough but the performance in the derby was much better.”