Hearts head coach Robbie Neilson welcomes Ann Budge’s budget plans

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Hearts head coach Robbie Neilson has welcomed the news that his playing budget will not be affected by the proposals to build a new £12 million main stand at Tynecastle.

Owner Ann Budge revealed the cost of the project on Monday at a public consultation, and admitted that over half of the funding was already in place.

Budge also confirmed that money would not be redirected from Neilson’s football kitty to help finance the new main stand.

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An artist’s impression of the proposed main stand

Neilson, whose side host Ross County today in a Premiership dead rubber, has never hidden his desire to build a squad that is capable of challenging for the Premiership title and he is delighted by Budge’s announcement.

He said: “It’s great news about the stand and that it won’t affect the budget. The backing of the fans has allowed us to do that.

“They’ve been great and the club’s heading in the right direction. We have to keep investing in the team as well because you need to keep winning games to get the fans coming back.

“From my point of view it’s great we can do both.”

The existing 102-year-old main stand has long been considered not fit for purpose and Neilson is looking forward to the new structure opening by September 2017, especially when he has had an input in the design process.

He added: “A couple of months ago we had meetings before the plans were finalised.

“We looked at the dressing rooms, what we need on a match-day, on a Friday for training and so on.

“The dressing rooms will be a big thing. We’ve picked up good ideas from a few places that we’ll look to implement to improve the place.

“We have to make sure everything’s up to standards for the Europa League, or the Champions League as we could one day reach that stage.”

Meanwhile, Neilson, who led Hearts to the Championship title at the first attempt in 2015, admits he was disappointed to see former club Dundee United relegated from the Premiership on Monday.

He added: “It’s been difficult, difficult for Mixu (Paatelainen) to come in. The cub were bottom when he took over and then he found it difficult to turn it around.

“A club like Dundee United, you want them in the top-flight because it’s a good ground to play in, good fans, a big club. You hope they can come straight back up.

“First they need to get a manager in then he needs to look at what he’s got. They need to try and decide how they win the league.

“When you go down there you need a lot of experience but also a lot of energy – people that want to get out the league.

“You need energy, you need pace. You need a lot of youth.

“We went down that way and it was successful for us but it’s up to Dundee United to decide what they want to do.”

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Cowie

Hearts midfielder Don Cowie, meanwhile, insists the remaining three matches are a chance to put down a marker for the Europe League.

He said: “You might think we have nothing to play for but we’re all playing for next season.

“We all want to be in the manager’s plans. He’ll be looking to strengthen in the summer so you’ve got to do your best.

“We’ve got European football to look forward to so I’m sure everyone in the dressing room wants to be part of that.”

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