Monday, May 23, 2022
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Hibs striker discusses hopes for Europa League second leg and insists the Leith side belong on this stage

Hibernian striker Flo Kamberi insists attack is the best form of defence after admitting that he hopes manager Neil Lennon will not tighten the reins for next week’s crucial Europa League clash against Asteras Tripolis in Greece.

Lennon’s side served up a memorable European evening at Easter Road in Thursday’s first leg after coming from two goals down to beat their second qualifying round rivals 3-2.

Swiss marksman Kamberi netted a last-gasp winner after Efe Ambrose and David Gray efforts cancelled out Georgios Kyriakopoulous’ devastating first half double.

(Pic: Hibernian FC)

Keeping goals out has been a problem for the Edinburgh club of late after conceding four in the last round away to Icelandic side Runavik and shipping five to Rangers on the final day of last season.

However, Kamberi is adamant Hibs can add to Asteras’ European misery next Thursday to set up a likely clash with Norwegian side Molde.

He said: “I’m confident for next week, we saw that we were the better team and we played the better football.

“But losing those two goals quite quickly together in the first half, we can definitely improve on that.

“I think that we deserved to win if you look at the whole game. We want to take this confidence into the second leg. 

“Absolutely I hope we’ll attack in the second leg. I don’t think we will go their to play defensively for 90 minutes. 

“I don’t think we will play for the draw or play on the counter – we will not go there with this mind. 

“We will go there thinking it is 0-0 and we want to win this game over there, we’re a winning team and we always want to win games. Of course we’ll go there to win.

“We know it will be a difficult game in Greece. We just have to keep our feet on the ground, even after such an amazing night.”

Kamberi insists the manner of the win against a side who have reached the group stages in two of the last four years has reinforced their belief that they belong on the European stage.

The 23-year-old, who converted his successful loan deal from Austian side Grasshoppers into a permanent arrangement earlier this summer, added: “It was an unbelievable win for us. To go through 90 minutes like that in a European qualification game was just amazing.

“We are showing that we can compete at this level and we are trying to make the club proud.

“We had a great season last year to be here and we are showing now that we can achieve good things in Europe.

“We have to keep improving because, if you go through, then you know that the level of opponents will also increase.

“It would not be so easy to achieve a 3-2 victory after being 2-0 down against a bigger team. 

“But everything is possible and this group of players definitely have the belief.” 

Lennon’s delight over his team’s victory was tempered by the news that he has been dealt an additional one-match UEFA touchline ban just as he finished serving his initial four-game suspension on Thursday evening.

The former Celtic manager was punished for making signals to the bench during the 6-1 home leg win over Runavik.

Kamberi, however, insists they can cope with their manager being in the stand.

He added: “It is a bit different if the gaffer is on the line or not. 

“If he is in the dugout you hear him all the time how he pushes the players but so do Garry Parker, Grant Murray and the other staff. They do their jobs very well. 

“It is one game that he is not there but he will speak to us and tell us what to do.”

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