Craig Gordon has kept himself sharp with a back-garden kickabout.
Now the Scotland goalkeeper hopes some old-school professionalism can restore the fortunes of Hearts.
Gordon is back with his first club after six trophy-laden years with Celtic.
He’s gone from a side going for 10-in-a-row to one that could be battling to get back into the top flight.
The 37-year-old hopes to remind people of his ability with regular first-team football – and he isn’t the only one out to prove their worth.
Tynecastle boss Robbie Neilson already has some fans doubting the wisdom of taking him back for a second spell.
Gordon’s old team-mate, Christophe Berra, is another with questions to answer.
He was shunned by previous boss Daniel Stendel, and spent the second-half of last season on loan at Dundee.
Gordon said: “My partner, Summer, used to play for Norwich Girls, so she’s not too bad at football actually.
“She’s had a few shots, with me in the portable goals out the back, and has even managed a few goals. I’m sure she’ll be delighted I have mentioned that!
“We’ve done that a few times, but it’s not quite the same as getting out there training with the guys, getting ready for matches.
“However, I do feel as if I am in good shape and ready to go.
“As a player, Robbie Neilson was very dependable and he very rarely made a mistake.
“He was one of those players you could rely on. If the ball was coming over to the back post, he would be tucked in to head it away.
“He was very good positionally and would always do what was necessary for the team’s needs.
“You take that out and put it into a managerial situation. Someone dependable, organised and there when you need him.
“Those are great qualities to have.
“From very early on, I thought he would make that step into management, and he has been very successful.
“Coming back, I’m sure he’ll continue the work he started a few years ago.
“So I’m delighted to now be working under his management.”
Gordon’s future is settled after signing a two-year contract with the Jambos.
Christophe Berra has a year to run on his deal, and Gordon has no doubts about his ability to contribute at Tynecastle, despite being shunned at the start of 2020.
He said: “I spoke to Christophe and he has absolutely no regrets.
“These things can happen. It happened to me in the last season at Celtic, from thinking in pre-season that I would be a big part of the team to just making a handful of appearances.
“You never can tell. That’s what can occur, regardless of who you are or what team you are at.
“Things move on and managers make decisions, other players come in and these scenarios are possible.
“Christophe knows that, and is quite philosophical about it. That’s football.
“He is just excited to be getting back training, and giving himself the best opportunity to try to play games again.
“He is a great professional, which is the reason he has been captain of this club.
“So to have him in and around the place to be a leader, you want as many of those as you can get and it’s going to make for a very successful dressing-room.
“It will be up to Robbie to come in and mould the team, and get us playing the way he wants us to.
“I think everybody will be looking forward to a fresh start. It certainly feels that way in and around the city with the fans.”
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