Jamie Hamill joins Kilmarnock; Hearts stay home

Jamie Hammil, left, penned a three-year deal with Killie. Picture: Ian Georgeson
Jamie Hammil, left, penned a three-year deal with Killie. Picture: Ian Georgeson
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Former Hearts midfielder Jamie Hamill has re-signed for old club Kilmarnock following his Tynecastle exit.

The 27-year-old was released by the Jambos at the end of the season after new owner Ann Budge appointed Craig Levein as director of football and Robbie Neilson as head coach.

But he has now penned a three-year deal with Killie as he returns to a club for whom he appeared more than 100 times between 2007 and 2011. A 
statement on the Rugby Park side’s website said: “Everyone at Kilmarnock Football Club would like to wish Jamie every success during his second spell at the club.”

Neilson, meanwhile, insists it costs too much money to take Hearts abroad for a pre-season training camp.

With the Tynecastle club still recovering after plunging into administration last summer with debts of £28.5 million, Neilson fully understands that paying up to £40,000 for a trip is not feasible.

The Hearts players will return to training on 26 June, with the 22 July trip to Dundee so far their only confirmed friendly.

Neilson, who replaced Gary Locke last month, will take charge of his first competitive game on 26 July in the 
Ramsdens Cup first round.

And he admits most of their preparation for life in the 
Championship will be done at their Riccarton base.

Neilson said: “We won’t be going abroad. With the budget we have, it’s too expensive. It can cost £30,000, £40,000 to take a team abroad and we can’t go anywhere near that.

“We’ve got good facilities at Riccarton so we’ll do our pre-season there. At the very most, we’ll maybe go down to England for a day or two if we can get something sorted out.

“Going abroad is fine but sometimes you can get there and you don’t know what the facilities are like and what you’re going to get. At least we know we’ve got top notch facilities at Riccarton. We come back on 26 June, then it’s four weeks until the Ramsdens Cup starts. We have a free week after that 
before the league starts so I’d like five or six games in by that time.”

Despite playing catch-up when it comes to preparing the team for next term, Neilson is also hoping to arrange a match against opposition from south of the border.

He added: “Getting a friendly against a big English team can be difficult because the majority of these teams are booked up by March or April. We’re coming in at the last minute but I’d like to think we can get at least one decent game against an English team, then maybe a few games against Scottish Premiership teams.

“I think it’s important that we test ourselves because that can set us up for a good start.”