Hearts players report for pre-season training on Friday with head coach Robbie Neilson itching to get his full squad back together.
He admitted today he has been waiting weeks to begin preparations for Hearts’ return to the Scottish Premiership.
Neilson said he has spent much of his summer break “twiddling thumbs” since Hearts’ season ended with a 2-2 draw against Rangers on May 2. He enjoyed the luxury of watching the SPFL play-offs unfold without taking part after leading the Edinburgh club to the a landslide victory in the Championship title race. Now, he is keen to get back to business at Riccarton.
“We’re just desperate to get back into training again and get the games going,” he told the Evening News. “You spend the summer twiddling your thumbs, just waiting for it to happen and waiting to get the boys back in. Everything is planned and ready to go, we’re just desperate to get going again and try to keep the momentum going from last season.”
The Hearts first-team squad is now considerably lighter than before the season ended, though. Adam Eckersley, Jason Holt, Scott Robinson, Brad McKay, James Keatings, Danny Wilson and Genero Zeefuik have all gone from last season. Neilson intends to wait patiently for new arrivals, the first of which is likely to be the Queen of the South forward Gavin Reilly.
“In terms of signings, it’s not like last year when we lost lots of boys and a number of players moved on,” continued Neilson. “We have a strong squad at the moment, we’re just trying to add quality to it. That’s what we need. There’s no point going out and signing 12 players. We want four or five real quality players who are going to come in and add value to the squad and the starting line-up.”