Why Hearts won't receive a bye into Europa League group stage

Hearts' hopes of receiving a bye straight into the Europa League group stage have been scuppered courtesy of Atalanta's fourth-placed finish in Serie A.

After the Italian outfit beat Bayer Leverkusen to win Europe's second tier competition on Wednesday, Steven Naismith's side were eyeing an easier path into the competition.

Had Atalanta finished fifth - and Borussia Dortmund won the Champions League on Saturday - a place in the group stage was Hearts'.

But having defeated Torino 3-0 on Saturday, the Bergamo side are confirmed to be in the top four, meaning Jambos can put their Dortmund scarves away for now.

Of course, Hearts are still guaranteed group stage European football, with the Conference League providing a safety net if they lose their Europa League play-off.