"Oh Denholm! Nice touch"

The mercury is creeping past the mid-20s and it's 10.20am. The Heart of Midlothian first-team squad are limbering up for another session at their training base in Tenerife. Having undertaken a warm-up and gone through some passing drills they have been separated into two groups for piggy in the middle - or rondos if you are the type who refers to the Nou Camp as the Camp Nou.

With one delicate touch and a move of the body, Aidan Denholm has just sent Lewis Neilson toward Playa de las Americas. Later on, the drill now involving small-sided goals, Musa Drammeh demonstrated his accuracy. Receiving the ball off balance and out at an angle, his body shape not appearing to be conducive to taking a shot, he took a touch and impressively found the net with his left foot. 

It's day four for Steven Naismith's men and they are in for a slightly easier training day, after being worked very hard across the first three days. Emphasis on easier because today's plan of attack still involves the morning session of around 90 minutes before a bit of gym work. They return to their hotel for lunch, provided by the club chef who is across with the team, and recovery before heading back to the training complex for a late afternoon session. 

Everything across today's two sessions involved the ball. The previous three days players had been put through their paces. That included some runs that Naismith had remembered from his career and brought into his coaching. As much a mental exercise as it is a physical one.

Hearts are at Tenerife Top Training - or T3 for short. It is, in its own words, "a high-performance centre in Europe that offers high-quality facilities for teams from all over the world". It has been providing the state-of-the-art facilities for clubs for over 12 years. Recent clubs to use it have been Danish giants Brondby and English Championship outfit Reading. Both Motherwell and Rangers have also been across in the last five years.

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The complex also attracts top swimmers and crossfitters, as well as rugby, volleyball and athletics teams and groups from around the world.

At this moment, Hearts are the only football team at the complex. They are making use of both grass surfaces allowing them plenty of space as well as the well-stocked, outside gyms which some players, including Finlay Pollock and Calem Nieuwenhof, were making use of. 

In addition to the pitches and gym, there is a running track, padel and tennis courts as well as heated pools, including an Olympic-sized pool and a 25m pool, plus a high-tech pool with counter-current for rehabilitation. These were used for a water polo tournament that took at the weekend where Craig Gordon showed his goal-scoring ability and Beni Baningime less so his goalkeeping ability. One Hearts player was described as "being like a fish" in the water such is his swimming ability.

The Hearts training base in TenerifeThe Hearts training base in Tenerife (Image: Hearts Standard)

The coaching staff have been delighted with the work that has been put in so far, the approach and attitude of the players and the way the new players have settled into the squad dynamic. No game will take place while the team are away with the management team content, allowing the focus to be fully on the training pitch ahead of the Leyton Orient friendly on Saturday.

The team will continue to be worked hard across the rest of the week, returning to Scotland on Thursday when Lawrence Shankland and Zander Clark will join up with the group. There will be downtime that could include some golf. On Sunday, the players and coaching staff visited the Scotch Corner bar to meet a large number of fans. There was even a special appearance from Suso Santana. The Scottish Cup winner met up with Gary Locke having worked under the Hearts legend when he was assistant to Paulo Sergio.

Come Saturday's match at Tynecastle Park when the fans will get a first look at the new signings, the team will be in a better shape to tackle the season ahead after a week in Tenerife.