BY ALAN TEMPLE – CCP_Sport
JOHN SOUTTAR faces a race against time to be in contention for the visit of Ross County as he steps up his recovery from a horror concussion.
The Hearts defender suffered the damage while on international duty with Scotland’s under-21 side earlier this month and had to spend a night at Dundee’s Ninewells Hospital.
As well as a nasty concussion, doctors diagnosed the 21-year-old with whiplash and he was forced to sit out the Jambos’ homecoming 1-1 draw against Partick Thistle on Sunday.
Souttar has resumed running this week and is hopeful he could be in contention to return to the side to face County.However, the defender’s health is the club’s priority and in the aftermath of such a severe knock to his head and neck, the final decision will come from the medical staff at Hearts depending on his progress in the next 48 hours.
Meanwhile, Hearts have issued an apology to supporters following the turnstile issues which meant hundreds of Jambos missed the pre-match festivities that marked the opening of Tynecastle’s new main stand.
An error with the electronic entry system in the Gorgie Stand saw many fans redirected to the Roseburn and Wheatfield ends and, although the fault was swiftly rectified, that was not communicated to stewards swiftly enough, leading to congestion.
Kick-off was delayed by 15 minutes to allow supporters to take their seats in time for the action to start, however many were too late for a speech by owner Ann Budge, the performance of ‘The Hearts Song’ by Frightened Rabbit star, Scott Hutchison, and a fireworks display.
A Hearts statement read: “We apologise profusely for the problems some of our supporters experienced on Sunday, where, due to an initial scanner fault, Gorgie turnstiles would only accept Gorgie Stand tickets, rejecting Roseburn and Wheatfield tickets.
“This was identified within 10 minutes of the turnstiles opening (at 1:45pm) and a fix was fully implemented by 2:25pm. However, this was not appropriately communicated to all stewards and the stewards continued to re-direct supporters, even after the fault had been corrected.
“When this became apparent, the club sought agreement to delay the start the start of the match and happily, we believe, everyone was in the stadium for the start of the game. We know that a large number of fans missed the pre-match entertainment, for which we whole-heartedly apologise.”
The club have confirmed that the problems have been rectified ahead of Saturday’s visit of Ross County, adding: “The club is pleased to confirm that supporters seated in the above stands will be able to access the stadium for future games in their usual manner.
“For example, supporters seated in the Wheatfield Stand will be able to access the stadium through the Gorgie turnstiles, if preferred. This flexibility will apply to all of the Gorgie, Wheatfield and Roseburn Stands.”