David Martindale has been full of praise for the way Heart of Midlothian have conducted their recent transfer business. 

The Livingston manager will be losing left-back, James Penrice, to the Gorgie club this summer, yet he admits he has no hard feelings about the switch and went on to laud Hearts' strategy. 

Tynecastle boss Steven Naismith has secured Penrice from Livi, Yan Dhanda from Ross County, plus Motherwell's Blair Spittal, on pre-contracts. Something Martindale, who takes his relegation-threatened Livingston side to the capital on Saturday afternoon, reckons is "progressive" and "smart" because these players know the Scottish Premiership already rather than making mass signings from overseas who will take time to settle in. 

Speaking ahead of the final pre-split league clash, Martindale said: “They’ve been progressive, not just by signing James Penrice from us but in snapping up Yan Dhanda from Ross County and Blair Spittal from Motherwell on pre-contracts.

READ MORE: Hearts chief issues fan plea ahead of Rangers semi-final

“That’s smart. For example, if I sign a player from Nigeria there is a lot of adaptation for him to make – new country and a style and tempo to football in Scotland you don’t see elsewhere.

"I’ll recruit from anywhere – [English] League Two, National League, Nigeria – but whoever comes in from outside will need a settling-in period.

“Whereas the chance of success with Yan Dhanda is a lot higher than someone from the second tier in Belgium or Switzerland because he has already shown he can do it here.

"So why wouldn’t you sign someone who has proved himself in Scotland? Players who already know the demands of this league improve your chances of enhancing your squad.

“Craig Halkett, Alan Forrest and Nicky Devlin – arguably one of Aberdeen’s best players this season – are other examples of Livingston players who have gone on to do well so that approach is a no-brainer for me. Hearts’ recruitment has been really excellent and Naisy and Joe Savage have to take huge credit for that.

READ MORE: Lawrence Shankland illness update after Hearts absence

“If I was sitting at a bigger club with more resources then I’d try and sign Spittal and Dhanda. That also gives you more leeway when it comes to taking a gamble on a Kyosuke Tagawa or an Yutaro Oda but Hearts as a club have probably learned from European football.

“It was a difficult period for them under both Robbie Neilson and Steven and it’s easy to underestimate the demands of that situation. You’d maybe be able to play Tagawa in Europe but you fall back on your British core away to Livingston or St Johnstone.”

Martindale was also eager to credit the Hearts board for showing patience to stick by Naismith after a tricky start to life at Tynecastle. The Jam Tarts are now on course to finish third in the league table, plus have a Scottish Cup semi-final against Rangers to look forward to later this month. 

“Naisy has done a great job," the Lions boss confessed. "He had a sticky start until he got his philosophy across but credit to Hearts for sticking with him. They’re a fantastically-run club. Ann (Budge) has done well and now she’s being helped out by Andrew McKinlay, Joe Savage and Naisy.

“When you have the alignment of being well run on and off the park it’s ideal. In order to have success you need the synergy between the people upstairs and the management team. 

“Hearts fans have put a phenomenal amount of money into their club and [multi-millionaire director] James Anderson has helped out financially as well. It has allowed Steven to flourish. Going into a stable club with genuine potential has given him that foundation.”