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Intertoto Cup will give Hibernian an edge when SPL season starts

The Easter Road outfit are Scotland's representative in the UEFA competition and will take on the winners of the clash between Sweden's Elfsborg and HB Torshavn of the Faroe Islands.

The first leg of Hibs' match takes place during the first weekend in July just two weeks after the Leith club starts pre-season training.

Even though Paatelainen concedes his players will not be in the best shape for the Intertoto Cup, he believes they will benefit in the long run.

He said: "I'm looking forward to it.

"The Intertoto Cup comes very early - only two weeks after we start training.

"We will be rusty but hopefully we can do enough to go through.

"Make no mistake we want to play our best against whatever team we play in the Intertoto but I don't think we will be ready at that time.

"To take part in European football is always interesting when you are a player. It's good to see how different teams from different countries play, and what style of football they use.

"I chose to put ourselves forward for the Intertoto because I feel having competitive games early doors will help us prepare for the season.

"The SPL starts on August 9, it is a big day for us and we want to be ready."

Paatelainen admits his players were sent on their close-season holidays with specific fitness programmes so they will be ready to confront a gruelling pre-season schedule.

He added: "I am hoping the boys don't rest for four weeks, you don't need that.

"You only need a week. Some are training in Jamaica and others are training in East Mains.

"As long as they are training I am happy. They all have programmes."

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