Stephen Kingsley explains Hearts’ pride, mindset and expectations ahead of Conference League and St Johnstone

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The defender believes the team’s first-half performance against Zurich was the best 45 minutes he has participated in as a Hearts player. A bit of quality in the final third to convert a chance was all that was missing, but Kingsley is confident that will come in the upcoming Conference League group stage matches against İstanbul Başakşehir, Fiorentina and Latvian champions FK RFS.

“It’s an exciting time,” said the 28-year-old. “We have the Conference League group stage to look forward to and many new challenges. If we reflect on those first 45 minutes against Zurich, we have to take the positive and know that we can face these teams and not be afraid. We just need that extra bit of quality and hopefully we get it next time.

“I am very proud of this performance in the first half. We were absolutely exceptional. It’s probably up there with one of the best 45 minute performances since I joined the club.

“It’s a tie that got away, but we’re looking at it in a positive light in terms of where we’ve come from.

“I joined this club two years ago when we were in the Championship and going to places like, no disrespect, Queen of the South away. Now we play like we did in those first 45 minutes against the Swiss champions.

“We come into the Conference League knowing we can compete with these teams and that’s what those first 45 minutes did for us. We know we can play like that. We just need that composure in the last third.

Kingsley had no qualms playing as a right centre-back against Zurich, even though it’s a position he’s not used to. With Craig Halkett injured, that may be a role he still has to play for a few more games.

Stephen Kingsley is focused on St Johnstone but was “very proud” of Hearts’ first-half performance against FC Zurich on Thursday night. Photo: Ross Parker/SNS

“I feel like I’m versatile enough to play in different positions and I feel comfortable enough to play anywhere really,” he explained. “If the gaffer wants me to play right-back or right-centre half, I’m happy to play there and give a good performance.

“It’s a new position, but that doesn’t bother me. I crack as usual. We have myself, Kye [Rowles] and Alex [Cochrane] as well as Andy[HallidaywhocancoverinthereaswellSowehavealotofleftfootersButIfeelcomfortablewithmyrightfootaswellIt’snotjustforstandingon[Hallidayquipeutégalementcouvrirlà-dedansNousavonsdoncbeaucoupdepiedsdepagegaucheMaisjemesensaussiàl’aiseavecmonpieddroitCen’estpasjustepoursetenirdebout[HallidaywhocancoverinthereaswellSowehavealotofleftfootersButIfeelcomfortablewithmyrightfootaswellIt’snotjustforstandingon

“I felt, even though I was playing as a right centre-back, that the form of the team in the first half against Zurich was very good, especially in possession. We circulated the ball very well. »

Amid the excitement from Europe, Kingsley explained that the players themselves will be demanding of each other ahead of Sunday’s Premiership game against St Johnstone.

Stephen Kingsley was comfortable playing as a right centre-back against FC Zurich. Photo: Andrew Milligan/PA

“There is a huge expectation on our part, inside the locker room, to now go for a result on Sunday,” he explained. “It’s a game we expect to win. We can’t allow any delays. We have to be there and get the win because it’s our bread and butter.

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