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Hearts head coach Frankie McAvoy hailed an “excellent” warm weather training camp as the Jambos get ready for the new season.

The Gorgie squad are in Spain this week and have several training sessions in the fitness bank ahead of the friendly against Championship side Plymouth on Thursday.

Steven Naismith was handed a two-year contract following his term as interim manager at the end of last season but his title was changed to technical director. The former Scotland international is working towards his required Pro Licence coaching qualification.

Former Hearts academy director McAvoy was named head coach, with Gordon Forrest also remaining as first-team coach and all three are putting the Hearts players through their paces with a view to a positive start to the 2023/24 season.

McAvoy, who was quoted stressing that he would call the shots in terms of team selection next season – “ultimately I’ll decide who plays” – told Hearts’ official website: “The first few days have been excellent.

“The three of us have worked extremely hard with the players to bring them up to speed as quick as we can.

“We’re coming up against Plymouth on Thursday and we need to make sure they’re in the best shape that they can be in a short period of time.

“There’s been some tough sessions for them so far.

“A key consideration is building camaraderie within the group which is massive.

“These trips aren’t a holiday, far from it. We want a strong group that knows each other well. We want to identify areas where we’re strong, and areas where we need to improve.

“After the seven games at the end of last season, we can start to see that come to fruition.

“It’s early stages but we’re hopeful that we can kick on even further. The campaign we’re facing is going to be a marathon, not a sprint. Starting well, having a good pre-season, puts us in good stead.”