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Scottish interest in Europe ends in defeat as Hearts lose 3-1 in Turkey

Hearts defeat in Istanbul ends Scottish interest in Europe before Christmas for the first time since 2016.

Hearts lose 3-1 in Istanbul as Scottish interest in Europe for the season ends in defeat SNS Group

Hearts have lost 3-1 to Istanbul Basaksehir as their European season ends in defeat in the final Europa Conference League group game.

A late consolation from Nathanial Atkinson on the last minute helped make the score-line look more respectable as Basakseihir eased to the win they needed to top the group despite a spirited second half from Robbie Neilson’s men.

The game in the Turkey was the last action for any Scottish side in Europe this season with both Celtic and Rangers also bowing out with their final matches earlier in the week.

It will be the first since the 2016/17 season that there will no Premiership clubs represented in any continental competition after Christmas.

Anchored to third spot Hearts knew they were out of the Conference League no matter the result on Thursday night and Robbie Neilson made a string of changes to his usual starting line-up.

Scotland number 1 Craig Gordon captained the side as he made his 22nd European appearance at Hearts and equalled a club record.

But the veteran goalkeeper was left picking the ball out of his net within the first five minutes when Youssouf Ndayishimiye opened the scoring with a header.

And the Turkish side doubled their lead on the half-hour mark with a goal from Serdar Gurler to make it 2-0.

Gordon raced out to try and clear a through ball but couldn’t get enough on it and it fell to Gürler who took it into the box before rolling into the net.

The hosts were two goals up at the break and they made it three just after the hour mark thanks to a goal from Berkay Ozcan who was brought on as a second half substitute.

Neilson called for back-up as he brought on Andy Halliday, Barrie McKay, Lawrence Shankland and Josh Ginnelly in the second 45.

The performance picked up in the second half and they finally got a goal back when a shot from Shankland was saved and rebound fell to Atkinson who hammered it home on the last minute of the 90.

Hearts host Motherwell at Tynecastle as they return to Premiership action on Sunday.