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Football: I say we'll meet Jambos Suna rather than later; HEARTS LATEST...

Byline: By Anthony Haggerty

OSASUNA keeper Ricardo last night tipped Hearts to reach the Champions League group stage.

The Spanish cracks enter the competition at the third qualifying round while the Jambos face Bosnian side Siroki Brijeg next Wednesday at Murrayfield.

And after suffering a 2-0 defeat at the home of Scottish rugby, the former Manchester United stopper, below, believes Hearts and Osasuna have what it takes to join Europe's elite clubs.

Ricardo admitted he would love to see the Scots make the group stage as he's desperate to gain revenge for Wednesday's pre-season loss.

And he said: "Hearts have a good chance of doing well in the Champions League. They have strong defenders and are a good passing team. I'd like to play them in the group stage if that is possible.

"Hearts surprised us, especially in the first half. In the second we took control a bit but they waited for their moments and scored two goals."

Ricardo insists Hearts like Osasuna have already achieved a minor miracle by reaching the qualifiers for European club football's most glittering prize.

And he reckons their feats are inj ecting fresh life into the game.

Ricardo said: "Hearts are like Osasuna in the Spanish league and it is a refreshing change to see a small club like that qualifying for the Champions League.

"That makes football more beautiful for everybody."

Ricardo, though, lamented the fact former United teammate Roy Keane had decided to call it a day with Celtic as he would have dearly loved to come up against him again in the Champions League.

Ricardo said: "Roy was a good friend of mine at United and I occasionally speak to him on the phone.

"I wish he'd stayed at Celtic and we could have played against each other in the Champions League as I'd love to have given him my regards."
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Jul 21, 2006
Next Article:Football: TYNAMITE; HEARTS LATEST... McCann ready to roar back with a bang at his old stomping ground.

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