Hearts visit of Motherwell to go ahead despite safety fears over issues affecting entire stadium



Hearts have confirmed that Saturday’s visit of Motherwell will go ahead after Police Scotland raised safety concerns over Tynecastle Park.

The 20,000 capacity ground has been beset by problems in the three games that have been played in front of the new £12 million main stand.

That led to the police superintendent responsible for events writing to the City of Edinburgh Council to ask for the safety certificate to be re-examined.

(Pic: Twitter @srwallace1)

But following talks at the stadium yesterday between Hearts, the police and council officials, the Edinburgh club insist they are preparing to welcome the Steelmen this weekend.

A Hearts spokesperson said: “Heart of Midlothian Football Club can confirm that it was contacted by Edinburgh City Council with regards to a letter sent to them by Police Scotland.

“The letter expressed some concerns regarding general security following a number of unrelated incidents at the first three games held at Tynecastle Park.

“Following a satisfactory outcome to a meeting held today (Thursday) at the stadium, attended by all parties, the club is looking forward to welcoming Motherwell Football Club to Tynecastle Park this Saturday.”

The council only gave the green-light for ground to be open for the first time just hours before the Partick Thistle clash on November 19.

But kick-off was delayed 15-minutes for that game due to a turnstile issue in the Gorgie stand that was exacerbated by the CCTV system failing.

Floodlight issues and lighting problems in the Roseburn stand were also reported during the Ross County match a week later.

And last weekend’s 1-1 draw with Hamilton was also put back until 3:15pm after a kitchen sensor in the Gorgie stand triggered the fire alarm and led to the ground being evacuated prior to the clash.

These issues were highlighted in the letter sent to the council and the police also raised concerns for the safety of managers and players in the new main stand after Craig Levein was dismissed from the technical area by referee Bobby Madden against Accies.

Levein took his seat behind the home dugout but part of the police letter reads: “Craig Levein was sent to the stand, which caused additional issues requiring steward and Police intervention with the spectators.

“Should an unpopular manager or other official from the away team be positioned there, then it would have the potential for increase tension and risk.”

Concerns about supporters refusing to take their seats in sections of the main stand and the position of the directors’ box were also highlighted in the letter.

The superintendent wrote: “At present I have concerns over the public safety of patrons attending football matches at Tynecastle Park. 

“There concerns are based on the three matches played at Tynecastle since the opening of the new main stand.”

A spokesperson for the City of Edinburgh Council said: “The safety of everyone attending matches is paramount and the Council is working with Hearts and their contractors to ensure that the matters raised by Police Scotland are addressed. 

“As work in the Stadium is ongoing, contingency measures are being put in place to reinforce safety procedures, while temporary occupation certificates and general safety certificates will continue to be issued on a match-by-match basis.”