Hearts are in good shape says Craig Thomson

DEFENDER Craig Thomson feels Hearts are in good shape under Jim Jefferies after lacking fitness during the previous regime.

Jefferies and assistant Billy Brown guided Hearts into the top six of the Clydesdale Bank Premier League after taking over from Csaba Laszlo in January. The veteran management pair have set about ensuring Hearts start better this year by arranging regular fitness sessions during the close season and now putting their players through their paces in the 30C heat and altitude of Tuscany.

Thomson told Hearts TV: "It is enjoyable, but hard work at the same time, but that is what it is all about. I don't think we were fit enough at the start of last season. I am sure it will be different, it is already."

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Thomson was one of the Hearts players who trained three times a week at Meadowbank Stadium throughout their summer break.

Meanwhile, city rivals Hibernian travel to Dumfries for a friendly against Queen of the South tonight. It will be Hibs' last match before they tour the Netherlands and manager John Hughes has vowed to continue giving youth its chance after bringing teenager Lewis Horner into the first team during Saturday's 4-0 friendly victory against Dunfermline. The Tyneside-born midfielder - a member of Hibs' under-19 squad - was handed a chance at East End Park after impressing Hughes in training.

Hughes said: "Everyone could see that we are a club who will give youth a chance.

"At the end of the Dunfermline game, other than (Derek] Riordan, (Michael] Hart and (Graeme] Smith, everyone was 21 and under. It is important to show the under-19s that there is something to aim for."

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