BY ALAN TEMPLE, TALLINN – @CCP_Sport
FC Infonet talisman Vladimir Voskoboinikov insists he has no interest in plaudits following their narrow defeat at Tynecastle – and has warned Hearts that the Estonians’ best is yet to come.
The minnows turned in a fine display in the capital last Thursday, illuminating the contest with a sensational volleyed opener by gifted youngster Jegveni Harin.
However, Robbie Neilson’s men managed to turn the contest around with two goals in eight minutes, with Prince Buaben levelling from the spot before an Andrei Kalimullin own goal completed the comeback.
Voskoboinikov, 33, is aware of the praise his side received following a classy showing, but reckons the only thing that mattered was the result.
And he has vowed Infonet will be even better at the A.Le Coq Arena tomorrow evening.
The 36-times capped Estonian said: “We may have got some praise after the first match, but that is not important. We are not happy to lose – and we can play much better in the second match, we have no doubt about that.
“We had chances but conceded two goals that we should have been ready to deal with. Hearts are not a mysterious team, the way they play is not a secret and we should have been able to defend the penalty situation and a cross into the box better.
“We spoke after the game and agreed that Hearts were very physically strong and they had chances, but I believe 2-1 is not a terrible result and we still think we can progress.
“Before the game we did not know what the difference between the teams would be, but now we know what to expect and we were given many reasons to approach the second leg with a lot of confidence.”
Voskoboinikov’s frustration is exacerbated by the functional nature of Hearts’ goals in the first leg, with parity restore via a penalty and the winning goal coming from a corner kick.
It was a show of physicality which he fully expected, insisting it is not only typical of the Jambos, but of Scottish football as a whole.
The cultured striker was part of the Estonia squad when they last faced Scotland, succumbing to a narrow 1-0 defeat at Pittodrie in 2013, and he saw parallels on his visit to Edinburgh last week.
And he is determined to finally grasp some glory against Scottish opposition.
The former Torpedo Moscow, FC Brussels and Dinamo Tbilisi hit-man added: “The Scottish player is known all over the world for having spirit, determination and physicality. So, when we knew we were facing a Scottish team, we were ready for a battle.
“I have respect for that style and that culture, but we want to show the kind of football we can play – impose our own style – and hopefully do ourselves proud and make Estonia proud.
“I experienced it before when I went to play Scotland with the national team in 2013. That match was in Aberdeen and it was similar to the match at Tynecastle – the crowd was passionate and the match was tough and hard.
“I remember we lost that match 1-0, but this time we have a second leg to make amends and we are sure we can turn the tie around.”