Hearts manager Robbie Neilson expects the experienced triumvirate of Peter Haring, Steven Naismith and Christophe Berra to play key roles during the forthcoming campaign.
Although none are yet fit enough to play, they travelled south with the squad to face Burnley in a closed-door bounce match on Saturday.
Despite the 4-1 defeat, Neilson declared himself delighted with the exercise and praised new arrivals Jordan Roberts, Elliott Frear and Josh Ginnelly for their contributions so far.
He also stressed that having Haring, Naismith and Berra around the squad continues to be vital because of their influence.
“I think it was important to bring them down,” Neilson told Hearts TV. “They are going to be a huge part of the season for us.
“It’s important to have these senior players because they are a big part of the club and they bring experience as well. We wanted to bring them so it was great to get everyone down.”
On the three new wingers, he added: “I’ve been delighted with them. The wide players have given us real pace out there and some great deliveries as well from set-plays and open play. I’m pleased with them.”
Hearts fell 3-0 behind in the first half before striker Craig Wighton reduced the deficit from midfielder Olly Lee’s through pass. Burnley added a fourth after the interval but Neilson remained pleased with the trip to Lancashire.
“It was a really good game. We are disappointed to lose some of the goals we did, and the manner of them as well, but I thought it was a great workout for us,” he said.
“A few of the boys got 90 minutes, which is the first one they’ve had since March. It’s quite a long time. It was a great facility and they had a full-strength team out almost so it was a great game for us.
“We are in our second game, only a couple of weeks into pre-season and we’ve still got that rustiness. We were playing against a team about to start their Premier League campaign so they’re right at it and bang on it.
“Some of our play was really good and I was really pleased with it. There are areas we need to improve on but, like anything in pre-season, that’s what it’s there for.”
“We got [teenager] Connor Smith on against Jay Rodriguez and [James] Tarkowski as well. It’s great for him to see what these guys are like and the size of them as well. Their mobility is phenomenal.”
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