Ron Gordon is determined to ensure Hibernian help the Old Firm fly the flag in Europe in future.

The Easter Road side qualified for continental competition this season after finishing third in the Premiership for the first time in 16 years last term.

However, Jack Ross’ side only made it through one tie before crashing out of the Europa Conference League at the third qualifying round against Croatians Rijeka.

It was the 10th time in two decades the capital club have competed in Europe but on seven of those occasions they have fallen at the first hurdle.

And Gordon admits Scottish football needs other clubs to step up and help Celtic and Rangers enhance the game’s reputation abroad.

The Hibs owner said: “I enjoyed Europe a lot. I think it was exciting to get to Europe.

“But I’m disappointed that we had five teams in Europe and the same two - which is great [for them] - are the ones that are left.


“We need to have Hibs, Aberdeen, St Johnstone, whoever, staying in Europe. We need to get further in Europe. That was a little bit of a bummer to be honest with you.

“We maybe let the Rijeka game here get away from us - that could have been different - and then we played with 10 men over there. That was a tough one.

“Hopefully we’ll do well and we’ll be back in Europe and can prepare a little bit better.

“My hope is that Hibs get into the group stage or other teams can do it and drive the league and the game forward.

“It’s good for everyone, we get more money, it’s self-fulfilling and you get more resources.”

With skipper Paul Hanlon sidelined for the second-leg of the Rijeka clash due to concussion, his replacement, Darren McGregor, was red-carded in arguably the tie’s pivotal moment.

They were also left short in attack when Christian Doidge sustained an ankle injury in training ahead of the match.

As well as being Gordon’s first taste of European football, it was also Ross’ first involvement as a manager, and the chairman is determined that lessons will be learned.


He added: “I’ve had conversations with Jack about the squad if we make Europe.

“We have a finite number of slots we have allocated for the first-team but in Europe perhaps we need two or three more because there is going to be more demand - it’s Thursday, weekend, Thursday, weekend.

“There are a lot of games and the recovery time is less, players get tired and injuries happen. We need to learn how to be in Europe.”