Heart of Midlothian FC recorded one of the UEFA Cup second round's most unlikely upsets with a 1-0 first-leg victory on French soil against FC Girondins de Bordeaux.
A solitary 78th-minute goal from Mark De Vries gave the Scottish Premier League side a huge boost ahead of the second leg in three weeks' time - and manager Craig Levein was delighted. "Losing 1-0 or 2-1 wouldn't have been a bad result for us - so we are so happy," he said. "We never thought we could travel back with the advantage."
The Bordeaux players looked desperately disappointed as they left the pitch having dominated large periods of the game. The home side had the better of the possession from the first whistle but were mainly restricted to shots from the edge of the box. The ferocious tackling of Phil Stamp, Steven Pressley and Robbie Neilson broke down wave after wave of Bordeaux pressure.
Levein opted to play a five-man defence and the tactic paid off as his team frustrated the Bordeaux players and supporters alike. Hearts themselves had the best chance of the first 45 minutes when Dennis Wyness went close as Hervé Alicarte forced his own keeper into a full-length save with a misjudged back-header in a crowded box.
Bordeaux could have sealed the game on a number of occasions but for some poor finishing from Jean-Claude Darcheville and Mauricio Pochettino - and superb goalkeeping from Hearts goalkeeper Craig Gordon, enjoying his finest hour for the club he joined as an eleven-year-old boy.
De Vries scores
The visitors' chances were few and far between - but they unlocked Bordeaux on the counterattack. Kevin McKenna went close when his towering header from a free-kick drew a fingertip save from goalkeeper Ulrich Ramé. The ball rebounded off the post and De Vries was quickest to react, stabbing in the game's only goal.
Bordeaux coach Michel Pavon admitted he had expected the visitors to employ a different approach. "We didn't think that Hearts would play like that," he said. "Each time we've seen them, they try to play a European style of football and tonight it was typically Scottish. But my boys have played their game and the only thing missing was a goal. You always need a bit of luck and we didn't have it tonight."
Change of plan
His opposite number Levein was already planning for the second leg on 27 November. "
I've got to work out a new strategy for the return," he said. "'I deliberately played a defence with five players behind the ball and hoped to have a chance to score. It proved a good choice tonight but Bordeaux are a good team and we haven't qualified yet."