When Gordon Forrest was coaching a couple of Costa Rican internationalists during his time at Vancouver Whitecaps it's unlikely he imagined picking up the phone nearly a decade later to seek a character reference for a signing target for Heart of Midlothian.

In 2014 Forrest was in a similar role at the Canadian side as he is now at Tynecastle. Working under Carl Robinson, he was on the training pitch coaching a squad that included players from various Central and south American countries. One of those was Costa Rican international Kendall Watson. The defender spent four years alongside Forrest in Vancouver and would be joined later by Christian Bolanos, the headband-wearing attacker who became the first player to play in three different World Cups for Los Ticos.

However, in this particular story it is Watson who is the more interesting figure. The 36-year-old is back playing in his homeland. For who? Deportivo Saprissa. That's right, he is a team-mate of Gerald Taylor.

Forrest was able to pick up the phone and ask about the right-sided defender who arrived in Edinburgh this week ahead of completing his move to Hearts.

"There are contacts like that where I can easily pick up the phone," he explained. "He gave us great character references and also the communication to speak to him to speak to the players because we are trying to entice players here as well.

"There are opportunities to speak to these guys and find out that final detail. We don't want to pluck someone from Costa Rica, bring them over here and they are not prepared to work hard or they might not settle. That's a small part of it.

"The recruitment team do a great job finding the players, speaking to the agents, looking at the details. Myself, Naisy and Frankie have got some really good contacts all over the place, down south and different parts of the world. Japan is a little bit more of a difficult one for us but there are always some people that we can potentially reach out to and it works for us.

"You are not going to get them all correct but we've had a steady stream of good players and good people coming into the club."

Hearts hope to conclude a deal for Costa Rican international Grrald Taylor.Hearts hope to conclude a deal for Costa Rican international Grrald Taylor. (Image: Getty)

It is something Hearts fans should be aware of now, the importance the management team put in finding not just the right player but the right personality. There is a vast amount of information out there, certainly with regard the the player's productivity and output on the field. It is then supplemented by deeper research and then, ideally, getting the player in a room or on a call with the management team to have a two-way conversation.

One aspect of the process is obvious, it is a collective approach with various staff members playing their part, from unearthing the player to initial interest right through to the player actually signing and then settling in.

"We'll look at certain positions, the data coming in and it will flash up that, for example, if it is a wide player, great one v one, loads of crosses, we then want to dive into how that person is because I think the environment is important," Forrest said.

"We have created a good environment and a good group of players. We have to make sure that players can integrate into the environment and they are a good characters.

"We'll try to do it with our contacts and people we know at clubs, we find out a bit more information. The recruitment team and Naisy as well do a great job at speaking to the player as well. We want to find out about the player but we are also trying to entice the player to the club who might have other teams that are trying to attract him as well.

"It gives us an opportunity to either meet the player face to face or get on a zoom to get that conversation. We're trying to tick as many boxes, not just on the pitch but how they would add to the group as well because it is really important to us.

"The game has grown and developed. You have access to a lot of data when recruiting players so you can see the distances they cover, the passes they make, how they defend – you can look into every little detail. We have got a set play model that the manager wants to try and implement so that the recruitment process allows us to look at the data but also visually watch the player as well.

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"We can find out in more detail whether they will hopefully be a fit to the team in their position first and foremost, and how they want to play. But we also dive deep into their character and personality as well. That’s through different conversations with different contacts we have across the world within the game. You can see that we have bought Costa Ricans that are coming into the team, our two Japanese players, players from down south, Musa [Drammeh] coming from over here – there is access to good information as well."

Hearts are currently undergoing their penultimate day of their warm-weather training camp in Tenerife. Even without a friendly, it has been viewed as a hugely effective and productive week, on and off the field.

It has been aided by getting the vast amount of the transfer business done before travelling. Six new recruits have been able to integrate.

"We have obviously flown out quite early, which allows the boys to be on camp and settle in," Forrest said. "I think last year we were delayed with certain players coming in.

"In terms of my input, Naisy gives us roles and responsibilities so we can organise what happens on the pitch and off the pitch and what we need from practices. We’ve got a good group of staff. From our head of performance Bob [McCunn], Mikey [Williams] in strength and conditioning, our medical team, the goalkeeping coach Gall [Paul Gallacher], Frankie [McAvoy], Naisy, two analysts – it’s important that we’re all on the same page. We are driven to deliver what we set out before we left Edinburgh.

"There are physical outcomes that we want to try and hit and we’ll see that with the running that they do and the hard work within the sessions. But there is also the tactical side of the game, how we want to play and where we can improve.

"It was a good season last season but we obviously want to improve and integrate the new players as well. So there is tactical information mixed in in some days alongside the physical side. But it’s changed days for players: they come back in good shape. Their off-season is getting shorter and there are international players but they all look after themselves. It’s different days to running up sand dunes and all that kind of stuff but we have got a good group."

It is a group that is set to play upward of 50 matches next season with the club's involvement in Europe. Forrest believes the team are in a great position to kick on. There hasn't been an overhaul in the squad meaning plenty of continuity and the squad are working from a position of strength.

Twelve months ago they were having to learn what Steven Naismith wanted from them. This time around they have a clear idea and can aid the new additions, allowing them to hit the ground running.

"It’s how we manage the squad," Forrest said. "Sometimes with such a large squad it’s about how you keep everyone happy and motivated to be part of that. But we also need a large enough squad to hopefully compete Thursday – Sunday.

"In terms of the intelligence of the player, I think that’s a big part of the game these days. And in terms of recruitment, you can find out so much about players but until you’ve really got them in the mix you won’t find out how smart they are. But I think you can see from the players we have brought in – some have performed well within the league, different ones coming in from Spain and Costa Rica – it’s a good mix.

"I think a key part of that is keeping a nucleus from last season. They know what they can do and what they have done for us, and they want to improve as well. So I would say from this camp straight away, in a lot of the practices we have done together, they are coming alive quicker and helping the new guys fit in because they know what we were trying to achieve last season. It’s been a good camp so far.

"Obviously it’s early days but we are one game in after playing Partick Thistle and it will be good to get more games coming up."

The first of those is on Saturday giving Hearts fans a chance to get their first look at the new signings ahead of the new Scottish Premiership campaign.