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Hearts drawn to face Fiorentina in Conference League group stage

The Tynecastle side will also face Istanbul Basaksehir

Hearts drawn to face Fiorentina, Istanbul Basaksehir and RFS in Europa Conference League SNS Group

Hearts will face Serie A side Fiorentina in the Europa Conference League after being handed an exciting group stage draw.

Turkish side Istanbul Basaksehir and Latvians RFS complete the Group A line-up.

The Tynecastle side dropped down into the group stage of the competition after losing their Europa League play-off with FC Zurich 3-1 on aggregate.

Their reward is a group that offers a mixture of glamour with a chance of progressing to the knockout stages.

Top seeds Basaksehir are in the competition after finishing fourth in the Turkish Super Lig last season. Managed by former international midfielder Emre Belozoglu, who played for Galatasaray, Inter Milan and Newcastle among others, they beat Breidablik and Royal Antwerp to qualify for the group stages.

Former Arsenal star Mesut Ozil and Belgian international Nacer Chadli are part of the squad that will be facing Hearts.

Fiorentina are one of the biggest names in the group stage. Seventh in Serie A last season, the Italian side are certain to be a popular draw for the Hearts faithful.

Making up the group is Latvian side RFS. The Riga club only made their first appearance in European football four years ago but are in continental competition this year as Latvian champions.

After losing a Champions League preliminary to HJK Helsinki, they beat Maltese side Hibernians and then Linfield to reach this stage.

Robbie Neilson’s side will now be looking to make an impact in the third-tier competition as well as progressing in domestic competition.

Matches will be played on Thursday nights with the group stage beginning on September 8 and finishing on November 3.

The full fixture dates and times will be published by UEFA within the next 24 hours.