BY ALAN TEMPLE – @CCP_Sport
HEARTS may wait until as late as Friday before requesting to postpone their upcoming Premiership clash against Partick Thistle as work on Tynecastle continues around the clock.
The Jambos’ new £14 million main stand yet to receive a safety certificate from Edinburgh City Council to host the fixture against the Jags.
Owner Ann Budge was present on Monday as council chiefs and an SPFL representative toured the structure, and it is understood several minor issues were flagged up.
While there are no substantial problems and receiving the requisite paperwork will not be an issue in the fulness of time, the club do face a race against time to make the necessary fixes before the weekend.
Workers have been ordered to do nightshifts in the coming days in a bid to bring Tynecastle up to scratch in time for Sunday’s game against Thistle, for which tickets are already on sale.
Council officials will visit Tynecastle at the tail end of the week for another inspection.
Hearts expect to have a better idea whether the main stand will be ready by Thursday, however a final decision may not be made until Friday.
An SPFL spokesperson last night stated that they ‘expect the game to go ahead as planned’.
However, should they not receive a safety certificate in time, Hearts will request a postponement of the fixture against Thistle. It is understood the SPFL are fully aware of that possibility and are in constant dialogue with both clubs.
Hearts do not anticipate being subject of any disciplinary action if the encounter is postponed.
It is just the latest delay in what has become a troubled construction process.
When plans to replace their historic main stand were announced at the club’s Annual General Meeting in December 2015, it was hoped that it would be completed – within a £12 million budget – by the start of this season.
However, after hosting Betfred Cup fixtures at a partially-closed Tynecastle earlier this term, the club used its contingency plan of playing three games at Murrayfield due to, in part, the fact they ’did not process the order for the seats’ in time.
The revised opening day for the main stand of November 5 was again missed, with that game switched to the home of Scottish Rugby. However, Murrayfield is no longer an option for Hearts due to the Autumn Tests, which began with the visit of Samoa at the weekend.