Heart of Midlothian will face Greek side PAOK for a place in the Conference League group stage after overcoming Rosenborg in a pulsating encounter at a partisan Tynecastle Park. Not only did they come from behind in the tie but they came from behind in the match to do something they haven't done in 31 years, progress in a European tie having lost the first leg.

The Gorgie Ultras unfurled a giant tifo ahead of the match but the game did not start the way the home side wanted with former St Mirren man Isak Thorvaldsson taking advantage of sloppy defending. Hearts hit back through Lawrence Shankland and took the lead thanks to an emphatic finish from Cammy Devlin. The little Australian then popped up with the goal which sent the team through in stoppage time.

Shankland genius

Where would Hearts be without Lawrence Shankland? Not just his goals but his all round play. The 28-year-old made it three in four to start the season with a delicious finish despite an onrushing goalkeeper and a defender who gave him a nudge in the process. In addition, his all-round game was excellent. He was at his intelligent best. Sharp, aware and crisp in his execution. A ball into him was either brought down with instant control or prompted to the feet of a team-mate. He almost contributed to a second with a brilliant turn inside the Rosenborg box. Shankland simply elevates this Hearts side, both with his goals and rounded ability. As things stand, Hearts fans should cherish their talisman for every second. There are strong reports of interest from England and Saudi Arabia with clubs in the latter looking to supplement big-money name signings with very good quality in the single digit millions. There has been much debate amongst the Hearts support as to how much the club should hold out for. The common consensus is £5million and not a pound less. It can be argued he is worth much more to Hearts in the team than £3million in the bank. Replacing not just his goals but his influence is not easy or cheap. A move to Saudi especially is attractive because you can be set for life. 

Tynecastle under the lights

That was a special night at Tynecastle Park. A memorable one. A packed stadium, raucous crowd and played under the floodlights which are to football games what hairbands are to new signings from South America. Rome has the coliseum but, on nights like this, Gorgie has the bear pit. The noise generated from the crowd, led by the indefatigably captivating Gorgie Ultras, matched the intensity of what was unfolding on the pitch. It was a fascinating watch. Both teams had their flaws but both teams also possessed a threat anytime they motored forward. Rosenborg were so slick in the way they moved the ball and countered. While there was an element of chaos about Hearts in the defensive third, Cammy Devlin covered every blade of grass as the aforementioned Shankland and Liam Boyce led the Norwegians on a merry-dance with their movement and telepathic relationship. It only began to slow once Hearts had made a double change which saw Liam Boyce and Aidan Denholm exit. 

Devilish Devlin

Twelve months ago Cammy Devlin had arguably his best performance in a Hearts shirt in the loss to FC Zurich in the Europa League play-off. He followed it up with another display which saw everything which is so positive about the effervescent Australian. He ran and he ran and just when you thought he was tiring he ran some more. But his running was with purpose. He snapped and snarled and bit at the ankle of opponents, he picked up on loose balls. He produced key interceptions in the defensive third and came up with big moments in the attacking third. This is the Cammy Devlin Hearts fans want to see on a weekly basis. Harrying out of possession, carrying the ball forward in it.


Hearts are on the verge of landing Odel Offiah on a loan deal from Brighton and Hove Albion. The 20-year-old will be the club's seventh summer signing and provide depth to the defence, both at right-back and centre-back. Providing no key players depart it will likely be the final acquisition. In the early weeks of the transfer window, Hearts Twitter (X) and other social media sites were awash with concern and angst about the lack of activity, while rivals Aberdeen and Hibs got on with their transfer business. You can understand supporters who are not privy to the machinations of what goes into transfers and they want new bodies in before the season starts. The club, with sporting director Joe Savage and technical director Steven Naismith leading recruitment, had a certain profile of player they wanted to sign. Targets were missed but with arrivals from Japan and Costa Rica as Hearts look to unearth gems, getting a signing over the line is complex. They have managed to do that in each area that was required. Defensive strength and aerial presence has been brought in. As has midfield verticality, creativity, pace and versatility in attack.

Remember the name

In years to come, Hearts fans will recount the performance of the irrepressible Sverre Nypan. When he is lighting up the Champions League for one of the continent's elite, there will be a nod back to the first-leg in Trondheim than this night in Gorgie. Just 16 years of age, he ran the show. Speed and power, balance and awareness. He was Rosenborg's reference point. He was a joy to watch, carrying the ball forward with the grace and gliding qualities of a figure skater.