Black backs Hearts to find feet after first-day stumble

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The Independent Football

Ian Black is confident Hearts can do themselves justice against Dynamo Zagreb, despite losing their opening league match 72 hours before the European tie. Hearts had new captain Michael Stewart sent off on Monday night as Danny Cadamarteri's double consigned them to a 2-0 defeat against Dundee United at Tannadice.

Tynecastle manager Csaba Laszlo was unhappy his side's first SPL match was put back to a Monday night for television coverage. But midfielder Black, who made his debut as a second-half substitute, insists Hearts will quickly pick themselves up for the first leg in Croatia.

"It's going to be hard against a big team," the former Inverness midfielder said. "But we are just going to relish the chance and hopefully go and enjoy it. It's going to be difficult but that's what we prepared for over pre-season. The manager will have us ready, it's all about going into the game the right way and I'm sure we'll do that."

Black added: "I thought we were a bit unfortunate. They only had a couple of clean-cut chances but they punished us. We had chances as well to come back into the game and were a bit unfortunate."

Laszlo, whose team received 11 red cards last season, downplayed Stewart's sending-off, which came after he slid in late on Scott Robertson. And Black agreed the club's new captain was not to blame for the defeat. "He is disappointed but it was unlucky," Black said. "We have got to move on. We are a good enough bunch to go to Croatia and get a result."

Hearts are set to be boosted by the return of left-back Lee Wallace against Dynamo.