Losing 2-1 at Tynecastle head coach Frankie McAvoy saw enough in his side’s performance to foster hope that they can still dig out the result they need to progress to the group stage for the second successive season.
“We knew it was going to be a tough game and a tight affair. It was disappointing that we scored then they got a penalty so early after. Then we score with Shanks [Lawrence Shankland] - it’s elation then it’s a sour note when it’s chopped off - and they score from a corner.
“As for emotions, it’s disappointing with the result but in spells I felt our shape without the ball was really good. They tried to hit on the counter and there were some pleasing moments. We know what we’ve got to do now - we’ve got to win the game and I believe that’s possible.”
Conceding so soon after Kenneth Vargas won the penalty and Shankland recorded his fifth goal of the season was a blow but McAvoy claimed that containing their emotions and staying strong in those situations is something they can learn from as they head into next Thursday’s away leg.
“In the main we’ve done that well. It’s about keeping your composure and staying switched on at every opportunity.
“I thought when we got into good areas we caused problems. First half their keeper made a fantastic save from Shanks and Boycey so we know we’re creating chances, and our wide players could cause them issues.
“We've got a good squad and we’ll deal with Dundee as best we can [on league duty, on Sunday] then focus on Greece. We've come a long way and the players have great belief in themselves. That's important going forwards and we’ll have that at the forefront of our minds.”
There was further disappointment, though, as Barrie McKay was forced off.
“He felt something in his knee," McAvoy added. “The guys have to assess it to find how bad it is but it’s too early at the moment.”