Elie Youan believes Hibernian have earned the right to dream of the Europa Conference League group stage after seeing off Luzern to set up a play-off against Aston Villa.
Hibs will host Villa in the first leg next Wednesday after a 2-2 draw in Switzerland sealed a 5-3 aggregate win.
Youan played a major role in the triumph, scoring an early opener in Lucerne before setting up Martin Boyle to level on the night and thrill the Hibs fans, who have seen their team lose their opening two league games.
Youan told the club’s website: “It was a very tough game. We beat them at home so we knew what to expect from them. We knew they would be attacking, but we expected this type of game.
“We handled it very well, got ourselves a draw and now were through to the next round.
“It was important for us not to lose after the result against Motherwell at the weekend.
“The fans made a lot of effort to travel out to Switzerland, some made a lot of long journeys to get here so it was very important to win for them.”
The former Nantes and St Gallen player added: “It was a special, special night. It was even more special for me because I was back here in Switzerland. I played here for one-year-and-a-half in Switzerland and I’ve never won in Luzern so that was an added bonus.”
Youan is looking to create even more special memories by dumping Villa out of the competition.
“If we want to get to the Conference League groups then we have to beat a good team,” the 24-year-old said.
“We can keep dreaming – anything can happen in this competition.”
Hibs will first have to take care of a Viaplay Cup second-round clash Raith Rovers at Easter Road on Sunday and manager Lee Johnson knows he faces some tough decisions.
Johnson admitted after last Sunday’s defeat by Motherwell that his squad were struggling to meet their early-season demands and a fixture clash with Hearts means his players will have one day less to recover and prepare for their next European game.
Johnson told Hibs TV: “Obviously we are going to have to play at 5.45 on Wednesday and a Sunday game, and I know how important the Sunday one is to all of us as well.
“Listen, we have got to find the energy from somewhere, whether that’s changing the team or the boys just resting and recovering, because it’s a big game. It’s a big game for them and a big game for us, and then obviously we go into Aston Villa on Wednesday.”
Johnson will be without the suspended Rocky Bushiri against Raith, while Dylan Levitt is ruled out with an ankle injury that will be assessed in the coming days.