Going Dutch is ideal prep, explains Hibs boss

JOHN HUGHES today insisted Hibs' ten-day training camp in Holland will be perfect preparation for the Easter Road outfit's assault on the Europa League.

Hughes' stars will play four games, three of them against Eredevisie opposition, in a hectic programme, returning to Edinburgh just five days before their first Euro tie.

But today Hughes revealed the punishing schedule – which will follow friendlies against Dunfermline and Queen of the South in the week before Hibs go Dutch – has been tailored with Europe in mind. The Easter Road boss, a frequent visitor to Holland along with assistant Brian Rice, said: "Brian and I are over there all the time, we like the way the Dutch play football and we know we will get really competitive matches."

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Hibs will fly out on 15 July and play Heracles Almelo the following night. A game against as yet un-named opposition will follow on the Sunday before matches with ADO Den Haag (21 July) and Vitesse Arnhem (24 July).

The squad will be based in Arnhem throughout their stay with Hughes having already visited their planned headquarters and given the facilities the thumbs-up. He said: "I am sure the players will enjoy it, there's plenty to take up their time although, of course, we'll also be working very hard on our pre-season training.

"The four games will be difficult but it's important in our preparation before Europe.

"Yes, it will be a bit hectic, but if you want to be successful there's all sorts of obstacles you have to overcome.

"We've worked had in drawing up our pre-season programme and those behind-the-scenes at Easter Road deserve great credit for having drawn up a terrific programme."

Hughes revealed the schedule had also been devised with the club's supporters in mind.

He said: "We are well aware that many of our fans will be basing their holidays around our games.

"Holland is easily accessible from Edinburgh, the longest journey they'll have is from the airport at Amsterdam to Arnhem, the rest of the games are 45 minutes or so from there.

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"The way it's been set-up they'll be able to choose whether to come for all ten days, the first weekend or later on in the trip. And, having been to Arnhem more than a few times, I know there will be plenty for the supporters to do outwith the football, it's a terrific town with a great history."