Hibs should expect a cool game-plan from Asteras Tripolis – and not a hot reception from fans, says Mark Kerr

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MARK KERR insists Hibernian will escape a hot reception when they face Asteras Tripolis in the Europa League later this week.

But the midfielder, who spent a 16-month spell with Asteras earlier in his career, fears the Easter Road outfit will instead have to steel themselves for the Greeks’ cool game-plan.

Kerr, who now plays for Ayr United, joined Asteras in 2010 after spells with Falkirk, Dundee United and Aberdeen, and enjoyed his stint on the continent.

It was a desire to try something different that took him to the Greek Superleague outfit but he eventually returned home after numerous changes of manager.

With the experience of playing at Ibrox and Celtic Park, as well as in Edinburgh derbies at Tynecastle, he believes Hibs will not be too daunted by Asteras’ 8,000-capacity Theodoros Kolokotronis Stadium.

However, he reckons the capital outfit, who earned a dramatic 3-2 lead at home last week in the first-leg, could find it difficult on Thursday if they lose the goal that would put their hosts in the driving seat in the tie.

Kerr, who still knows some of the backroom staff and directors at Asteras, told Capital City Press: “The way Asteras played at Easter Road was the way I was expecting, the way they sat in and kept the ball and kept their shape.

“Over there, I think it’s going to be tight. It’s a smaller playing surface and if Hibs go behind I think they’ll find it difficult to score the goals they’ll need because of the away goals rule.

(Pic: Apostolos Papageorgiou)

“Asteras will try to set the pace of the game the way they want it to be, knowing that one goal is enough for them.

“I still think Hibs can go through because they have the advantage at the moment.

“And it won’t be that hostile over there. Their fans aren’t like that.

“I played against AEK in the Olympic Stadium and when we took a two-goal lead their fans were going crazy, trying to get onto pitch and firing all sorts of things onto the pitch.

“It will be a more comfortable atmosphere for Hibs, but more challenging will be the way Asteras play the game.

“I was at the first game and it was really entertaining. Hibs will take a lot of confidence from coming back and it could go either way.”

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