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Preview: Hibs vs FC Santa Coloma

Get the lowdown on FC Santa Coloma, the latest team news and much more ahead of our UEFA Europa Conference League match.

THE LOWDOWN

Our UEFA Europa Conference League second-qualifying round match against FC Santa Coloma kicks off our 2021/22 campaign!

This is our latest European adventure and our first since the 2018/19 campaign when we were knocked out of the Europa League in the third-qualifying round by Norwegian club Molde.

We will face the Andorran side over two-legs, the first being Thursday July 22, and the second being a week later (July 29) at the Andorra Football Federation Stadium.

The winner of our game will face either Gżira United (Malta) or HNK Rijeka (Croatia) over two legs in the next qualifying round and we are currently three rounds off the group stage.

We come into this game off the back of a strong pre-season campaign. In our last outing we beat Raith Rovers 3-1, but the stand-out result came at Easter Road on July 13. We defeated Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal 2-1 in-front of 2,000 supporters thanks to goals from Martin Boyle and new signing Daniel Mackay.

We also drew 1-1 with Stoke City at the bet365 Stadium and beat Dunfermline 4-1 in a productive pre-season.

4,700 FANS RETURN

During pre-season we have been able to see a number of you at our games and it has been a fantastic experience, especially the home friendly against Arsenal.

There were 2,000 fans present at Easter Road as we beat the Gunners and it was wonderful to see all the shirts, flags, scarves, and smiles on supporters’ faces.

Jack Ross summed the moment up perfectly after the match saying: “It was emotional seeing supporters back in and it sounded more than just 2,000 in the stadium because we missed that crowd noise so much.

“It was so nice to see so many people delighted to be back in. I went back pre-match and spoke to a lot of people and saw first-hand how excited they were to be back in the stadium.”

Our gaffer, and his players, were able to walk-out to raptures of applause at Easter Road – a moment some of the lads witnessed for the first time – and it was certainly a moment to treasure.

We can’t wait for Easter Road to be full again, and we want to keep welcoming more and more supporters back into our stadium.

We are constantly following the latest government and council guidelines, so if you are attending the game, please refer to our Spectator Code of Conduct to ensure you and your fellow fans stay safe.

WATCH ON HIBS TV

If you're not going to Easter Road, buy a game pass and watch it live on your laptop, phone or tablet.

Dougie Donnelly is joined again by Joelle Murray and John Hughes for pre-match build-up ahead of our #UECL debut!

TEAM NEWS

Jack Ross has a number of decisions to make regarding his players’ match fitness ahead of the FC Santa Coloma match.

Our final pre-season friendly saw the return of Josh Doig, Christian Doidge and Darren McGregor. The former two have been struggling with their match fitness after returning late to the pre-season group following positive Covid tests.


Doig has started two pre-season games (against Stoke City and Raith Rovers), whilst Doidge’s first pre-season action came against Raith Rovers where he featured for 20 minutes. He is unlikely to make the starting XI but will be part of the squad. McGregor was rested against Arsenal as a precaution and is in contention for selection.

New signing Jake Doyle-Hayes, Jamie Murphy and Chris Cadden have all missed the last few pre-season matches and are not expected to be available for the first leg.

We will also new new club captain Paul Hanlon lead the side for the first time in a competitive game this campaign. His vice-captain Paul McGinn is also expected to feature.

HEAD TO HEAD

Unsurprisingly, this will be the first time we have faced Santa Coloma or any Andorran side in competitive football. But we have faced teams from other countries in UEFA competitions, which include the Faroe Islands, Lithuania and Yugoslavia.

The nation we’ve actually come up against most in Europe is Sweden! We’ve played 10 games against Swedish sides winning 40 percent of them.

We also have a 100 percent win record over sides from the Faroe Islands, Hungary and Latvia.

We have three top goalscorers on European soil: Alan Gordon, Joe McBride and Pat Stanton (above). They have all bagged eight goals for us on our European adventures.

There's only been one meeting between a Scottish and Andorran team. In the 1997/98 UEFA Cup Dundee United beat CE Principat 17-0 over two legs. The 8-0 win in Andorra in the first leg was refereed by Italian referee Pierluigi Collina.

THE VISITORS

Hailing from a village of just 3,000 people, Santa Coloma finished third in last season's Primera Divisio – the Andorran top flight.

They have been crowned Andorran champions a record of 13 times and actually boast a grassroots partnership with Europa League champions Villarreal.

At the helm is Albert Jorquera, a former Barcelona goalkeeper who was capped by the Catalonia national team.

In terms of European football, they are the only Andorran side that have progressed in a European competition. They have won two Champions League qualifiers in their history and beat Maccabi Tel Aviv 1-0 in the 2007-2008 UEFA Cup but lost the tie 4-1.

To qualify for this match, they beat Gibraltar side Mons Calpe 5-1 on aggregate. Mons Calpe scored a late equaliser in the first leg, which gave them hope, but Santa Coloma progressed convincingly after a 4-0 victory on home soil.