DWIGHT GAYLE made a goalscoring start to pre-season and then vowed to prove he can be a success at Newcastle United in the Premier League – regardless of which players join the squad.

Rafael Benitez, the Newcastle boss, didn’t carry out interviews at Tynecastle after the Magpies started their preparations for the top-flight with a 2-1 victory over Heart of Midlothian.

Benitez has been frustrated with the lack of transfer activity since promotion from the Championship and that was highlighted by the sight of just one new face, Florian Lejeune, in Edinburgh.

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He expects Newcastle to step up their efforts to land Norwich forward Jacob Murphy over the weekend, with the focus on whether or not managing director Lee Charnley can strike a deal for a player valued at £16m by the Canaries.

The 20-year-old scored eight goals and assisted a further eight last season and impressed for the England Under-21s this summer, and Norwich do not want to sell.

Benitez wants many more additions to his squad before the Premier League begins at home to Tottenham on August 13 and he takes his squad to Ireland on Sunday for a training camp.

Gayle couldn’t have got his warm-up off to a better start. He scored both goals at Hearts, carrying on from last season when he ended up as the club’s leading scorer.

And the striker, signed from Crystal Palace last summer, said: “I want to play as much as I can but I know the club needs to bring in the new players to pull everyone in the right direction because it will give everyone a boost we need.

“I am all for new signings. I am just looking forward to the new season. There is pressure that comes with the shirt, I know what I have to do.

“I will rely on the other lads helping me out. I rely on balls behind. We have quality in the team. Even last season I had a point to prove, this will be no different.”

There was no explanation from Benitez as to why there was also no sign of Tim Krul or Karl Darlow – who has been the subject of a bid from Middlesbrough and can leave – at Hearts. Rob Elliot and Freddie Woodman were the goalkeepers preferred, while he is also seeking a new shot-stopper.

Despite problems on the recruitment front so far, the players who have been around were happy to get back into the groove of some match action.

And Gayle said: “I’m happy to get started, the fitness is the most important thing and to get through it without injuries is a plus, now we look forward to the next few games.

“I wouldn’t say I feel sharp, I don’t think any training prepares you for games, we need to keep going and get ready for the new season. We need to play as much football as we can.

“Getting promoted last season was what we all wanted now we need to go out prove we can handle it and play as much as we can at that level.

“We have a great team spirt and the boys will build on that in Ireland next week, we are going to go for it and see what we can do.”

Gayle grabbed both goals in the third and 24th minutes, either side of a Jamie Walker strike for Hearts.

The only presence of a new signing in the starting line-up was a familiar face at Hearts. Christian Atsu, the £6.2m buy from Chelsea who spent last season on loan at Newcastle, was on the flank.

Lejeune, the £8.7m purchase from Eibar and the only other new signing thus far, was largely untroubled during his first outing after the restart and had a header over the bar. Otherwise Benitez could only turn to the players who served him well last year.

The opening goal soon arrived. Siem de Jong, hungry to prove himself after spending last season on loan at PSV, played a defence-splitting pass beyond the Hearts centre-backs and Gayle was left with the task of slotting low and beyond goalkeeper Jack Hamilton.

Hearts soon had their moments. Winger Esmael Goncalves was inches wide of an equaliser when his strike from 30 yards had Elliot at full stretch.

He actually got far closer with that than he did with an abysmally taken penalty kick which he blasted over when Walker was bundled over in the box by Massadio Haidara.

Walker took matters into his own hands seconds later, though. He levelled things up by blasting beyond Elliot after a neat exchange of passes with Hearts team-mate Cole Stockton in the visitors’ box.

But Newcastle regained the lead soon after when Gayle headed in Jonjo Shelvey’s corner at the back post, but it was Elliot who was the busier keeper.

The Ireland international had to make made two stunning stops to keep his side ahead. He firstly turned away Walker’s volley and seconds later somehow stopped a Goncalves close-range header with a strong palm.

There were six changes at the break and two of those, Henri Saivet and Aleksandar Mitrovic, went closest to scoring in the opening quarter of an hour after the restart.

Other than those, though, the second half was a story of regular substitutions rather than anything particularly exciting in a football sense. The rain started to fall and the match ended in victory for Newcastle.

HEARTS: Hamilton; Smith (Brandon 75), Smith-Brown (Grzelak 58), Nowak (Petkov 84), Hughes (McGhee 74), Berra, Walker (Beith 86), Buaben (Martin 58), Stockton (Cochrane 67), Cowie (Currie 67), Goncalves (Sammon 80). Subs (not used): Noring (gk), Lafferty.

NEWCASTLE (first half): Elliot, Clark, Lascelles, Mbemba, Haidara, Aarons, Shelvey, Diame, Atsu, De Jong, Gayle.

NEWCASTLE (second half): Elliot (Woodman 62); Gamez, Mbemba (Hanley 61), Lejeune, Dummett; Saivet, Diame (Armstrong 61); Perez, de Jong (Lazaar 75), Haidara (Colback 61); Mitrovic. Subs (all used).