GRAEME Murty says spirits are high among the Under-19’s squad as they prepare to face Slovan Bratislava in the UEFA Youth League this week.

The Gers host the Slovakian side at Firhill on Wednesday night in the first-leg of the second round tie.

After progressing through round one against Young Boys, the majority of the Under-19’s squad were then involved in the Tunnock’s Caramel Wafer Challenge Cup penalty shoot-out victory at Solihull Moors.

Murty said: “If you see the atmosphere in training and the mood in the group generally they are on a high and they should be because they are doing really well but they know it has to be a focused energy.

“We saw that in training, I thought they were really really good, high without being too hyper and energetic without going over the edge. I thought training was a real success in that regard and we really can’t wait for the game to start.

“We have said all the way through we are looking forward to this game and being in this competition has been a really good and a really positive experience for our players.”

Murty said it is vital his players continue to show belief, as they did against Young Boys and Solihull.

He said: “I think we need to take our creativity and quality into the game, and our general control of the game.

“I thought against Young Boys we showed great control, but we also showed great quality and good invention in and around the box and we are going to need to have that.

“Our attitude and our calmness even when the guys were behind, even when things weren’t going our way they maintained our method as they did at Solihull. They continued to believe and I think that is going to be vital.”

The Academy staff have been working behind the scenes to gather information on Bratislava and their style of play ahead of the game.

Murty added: “Our analyst George Brown has done a wonderful job, we have seen their games.

“Myself and the staff have all looked at their games against Ludogorets and had a look at how they play, their key assets and their key weapons and ways that we think we can hurt them.

“We are going to sit down with the group and we are going to show them what we have seen.

“We could sit down for hours and show them everything but that is not right for young players I think you need to cut the time down, make it really punchy and we are going to endeavour to do that.

“We will see what our opponents give us but we have to be secure in ourselves enough to realise that we are going to cause problems to any opponent.

“It would be lovely to take a lead over there for the second-leg but we have to make sure we have really good structure and really good discipline without the ball and make sure we pay our opponents the due respect because it is going to be a tough game.”

The squad has been boosted by the return of Lewis Mayo, who has been out after picking up an injury in the opening game of the competition over in Switzerland.

Murty continued: “It is good to have him back because he is a positive presence and he is one of our senior players so it is good to have him in the group.

“Having Lewis in the group strengthens us and helps us just by the manner of the character and the person that he is so we are glad to have him back and it gives us more options in the middle of the pitch.

Kick-off is 7pm on Wednesday night and fans can pay at the gate, Adults £5 and Children £3.

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