Hearts hope facilities will lure players

Callum Paterson training at Riccarton
Callum Paterson training at Riccarton
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Hearts head coach Robbie Neilson is using his club’s facilities, infrastructure and long-term vision to convince potential signing targets to play in the Championship next season.

The 33-year-old openly admits he is working on a tight budget following relegation but hopes new players will be attracted by Hearts’ passionate support, training facilities and stadium.

Talks have taken place with Neil Alexander, Morgaro Gomis, Darren McGregor and others in recent weeks as Neilson tries to add experience to his squad. No deals have been agreed yet as many players weigh up other options as well as Hearts. The Edinburgh club hope to be out of administration by June 19 at the latest and Neilson is buoyed by the prospect of a fresh start.

Director of football Craig Levein is committed to developing young players and coaches at Riccarton and the club hope that can also be used as a selling point to entice players to turn out in Scotland’s second tier.

“I’ve spoken to a few people, but it’s still early days,” said Neilson. “Because of the budget, we can’t offer a lot of money to players so we’re trying to sell what we have here. We’re trying to sell the vision we have, trying to sell the club, sell the stadium, the training ground, the fans and the whole ethos we have.

“Hopefully we’ll get some players who will buy into it, so that it’s more about an opportunity for them and not just a money thing.”

Hearts have added another pre-season friendly to their summer schedule. Neilson will take his players to former club East Fife for a 3pm kick-off on Saturday, July 12. That game is the third organised by the Tynecastle club to date, with others against Hamilton (July 9) and Dundee (July 22).