Jack Ross believes Hibernian are much better prepared for the challenges of European football following last week’s tetchy first leg against Santa Coloma.
The Hibs boss takes his team to Andorra for Thursday’s second leg of their Europa Conference League qualifier with a comfortable 3-0 lead established at Easter Road in a game that saw three red cards – including one for Joe Newell – and six yellow cards.
Ross, who guided the club to a third-placed finish in the Scottish Premiership last season, their highest placing since 2005, thinks the experience will stand them in good stead.
“We have a relatively inexperienced squad in terms of European football and every experience and challenge for us is an education,” said Ross.
“Last week’s game will be good for us. You can prepare with video footage to a degree but that game last week, where we got better as the game progressed, will really help us.
“It’s about having the ability to adapt to circumstances and we got there in the end last week. Having that taste of European football, and everything that goes with it, was brilliant for us.”
Santa Coloma were criticised for their over-physical approach in the first leg as they racked up four yellow cards and saw two players sent off.
Asked if he expects similar tactics in the return game, Ross said: “It is difficult to predict how teams will approach a game, they are chasing it and have to win.
“We have picked a team we think suits the game tomorrow. It’s warm here and we will have to look after the ball and keep possession a little bit more.”
On Hibs’ ambitions in the competition, Ross added: “First of all let’s get through the tie, although we will also try to win the second leg as well – with an eye on Sunday.
“It’s no different to any competition, we want to be successful. Being back on this stage is big for the club and we don’t want to be like tourists, we want to progress and get through the rounds as far as we can.
“There’s a lot of games, particularly when it’s the start of the season, but we have made a good start and we want to see that through tomorrow. Then we can focus on the league starting on Sunday.”
Newell is suspended in Andorra after he received a straight red card in the first leg.
Jake Doyle-Hayes is back in training but still building up his match fitness after missing large parts of pre-season, while Jamie Murphy, Chris Cadden and Sean Mackie remain out injured.
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