Pre-season trip abroad not on Hearts agenda

Hearts will base their pre-season training at Riccarton

Hearts will base their pre-season training at Riccarton

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ROBBIE NEILSON today revealed Hearts will remain close to home for this summer’s pre-season campaign rather than book a costly trip abroad.

The head coach explained that a £40,000 outlay for a foreign training camp was unnecessary when Riccarton already provides some of the best facilities around.

Clubs from across Britain have already contacted Hearts asking to arrange pre-season friendlies, but Neilson would prefer to wait until the Scottish Championship title is secure before planning a summer schedule. One thing he does not intend doing is leaving Britain, so any games will take place in Scotland or England.

Recent years have seen Hearts head to the Leigh Sports Village in Lancashire to play European teams Dinamo Bucharest and Lodogorets Razgrad. There may be similar matches arranged this year but Neilson stressed they will all take place on British soil.

“I’ve had a quite a few requests in for games but we need to try and win the league first,” he told the Evening News. “If we do that, then we can start making plans for the beginning of next season. If we don’t win the league, we’ll have Petrofac Training Cup ties again and the league starts earlier. That would affect our plans.

“We won’t be going abroad so we’ll be in Scotland, possibly going down to England again. I’m not looking to spend £40,000 on a trip abroad. We’ve got a fantastic facility here at Riccarton. We’ve got the sports institute, the gym, the pitches, recovery stuff, so we’re well catered for.

“You can go abroad and pay £40,000 to get there then it’s a grass pitch and it’s not great. You’re using a hotel pool and a hotel gym. There’s no need for us to go abroad.”