By Alan Temple – Capital City Press
Hearts head coach Robbie Neilson has declared the Jambos’ Irish training camp a roaring success and has revealed they will endeavour to make the same trip next summer.
The capital club won both of their matches in the Emerald Isle, claiming a 2-0 victory over Bohemians and defeating Shelbourne 4-2 – despite both sides being mid-way through their domestic campaigns.
Hearts handed debuts to Jahmal Howlett-Mundle, Gavin Reilly, Blazej Augustyn and Juanma Delgado, while trialist Mergim Bajraktari started both matches, and Neilson was delighted with the way the new-boys bonded.
The players were also put through a gruelling schedule at the state of the art training facilities at their plush base in County Meath, and Neilson is in no doubt regarding the benefit of the trip.
He said: “It was a really good stay. We have had a couple of tough games and some really hard training sessions so that sets us up to get back to Scotland and get back into the games again.
“We’ve done a lot of hard work and, most importantly, we got a lot of fitness out of the trip. It was tough again on Saturday [against Shelbourne] against a lot of their first-team players.
“We’ve also been able to bed the new guys in and get them settled in. The hotel we were in was really good with a big pitch on the grounds – it was fantastic and something we’ll look to do again next year.”
Hearts, who arrived back on Scottish soil on Sunday afternoon, will step up their pre-season preparations this evening when they face Raith Rovers at Stark’s Park.
“We were straight back into it [training] on Monday ahead of the game against Raith Rovers,” he added. “We’re looking forward to it.”