Hearts friendly against English side cancelled following latest Covid-19 safety measures


Hearts have had to cancel their first pre-season friendly against Millwall as a result of the latest Covid-19 restrictions.

The clash with the English Championship outfit, who are training at Oriam this week, had been due to take place in Edinburgh on Friday.

Hearts were left ‘incensed’ last Thursday when the SPFL and Scottish FA Joint Response Group told all clubs outwith the Premiership that they could not train until at least next Monday.

Hearts in training | Hearts news
Hearts were furious about being ordered to halt training

Those measures were introduced as a result of the high-profile rule breaches involving Celtic’s Boli Bolingoli and the Aberdeen eight.

Hearts had been nearly two weeks into their pre-season preparations having decided to return early ahead of the competitive action getting underway in October.

To compound Hearts’ frustrations, English League One side Hull City were allowed to train at the  National Performance Centre – where the Edinburgh side train – last week, while Millwall are currently using the same facilities at the state-of-the-art Riccarton base.

But Lions manager Gary Rowett concedes that the warm-up match with Robbie Neilson’s team has now been scrapped.

Speaking to London News Online, he said: “We’ll probably play a game internally – it’s not a massive problem because it is our first game.

“You are looking at people getting 45 minutes.

“I haven’t got a massive problem with that game not being on when we have got three or four other friendlies lined up.

“We felt as though Scotland was the safest place to go – or the best place we could book and a chance of that still being available by the time we get there.

“It’s good for us to get that period of time with the players and I think they are quite looking forward to it – going away with four or five days and concentrating on football.”

Hearts, meanwhile, have announced that season ticket sales have crashed through the 11,000 barrier.

The club tweeted: “Jambos, once again, thank you for your sensational support!

“From season tickets and Foundation of Hearts pledges, to the Hearts club store, the Gorgie bar and Skyline Restaurant – your incredible backing continues.”