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Assistant MacPhee pleased with first impressions of Hearts new boys

By July 4, 2018No Comments

Hearts assistant Austin MacPhee was pleased to see the new signings settle in, but admits there are bigger tests to come.

The Jambos kicked off their pre-season campaign with a 2-1 win away at Arbroath on Tuesday, with Aidan Keena and Ross Callachan on target.

Craig Levein gave 23 players game time, with nine new signings featuring at some point, along with trialists Ali Crawford and Kevin Silva, and MacPhee saw encouraging signs.

“When you see the players for the first time, one of the things you want to see is that what you thought they could bring to the club, they can actually offer in general,” he told HeartsTV.

“I thought Olly Lee showed really good composure on the ball, Uche (Ikpeazu) showed his strength, and playing out of the back, Peter (Haring) showed good quality and was very strong in the air.

“Jake (Mulraney) at wing-back was very explosive in the second half, young Bobby (Burns) I thought did very well and was competitive.

“This is what we expect, but how they react when the games come thick and fast remains to be seen.

“They all see with each other that there are a lot of players and they have to be very competitive to get in the team.

“We have to make sure there is a high requirement to compete against each other to get in the manager’s team.”

With Steven Naismith expected to complete a year-long loan move back to Tynecastle in the coming days and become the 11th signing – Zdenek Zlama did not play against Arbroath through injury – Hearts look like having a far stronger squad than the one that finished sixth last season.

“Last season we had a lot of injuries and the way the transfers went resulted in a lot of the young players playing,” MacPhee admitted.

“Some have done very, very well and will play significantly this season, but at times we maybe didn’t have the experience to deal with situations, especially when we weren’t functioning as we’d like.

“I think there are a lot of players this season with experience in leagues similar to the SPFL.”