Proud Robbie Neilson has praised the ‘brilliant’ Hearts fans for ensuring they’ll be quids in despite missing out on a Scottish Cup Final cash injection.
The Jambos take on Celtic at Hampden in the Final in just over two weeks’ time, but it’s set to be played behind closed doors due to Covid restrictions, therefore depriving both clubs of a ticket revenue windfall.
However, the Gorgie faithful have decided to donate the cash they would have spent on going to the game to the Foundation of Hearts.
The news comes soon after the club posted their annual financial results, and despite their demotion to the Championship and no gate money having come in since March, they still managed to post a profit of £473,000.
That was despite having to shell out £600,000 in legal fees.
And this latest backing from the fans is another major boost with the continued uncertainty over when paying punters can return.
“It’s absolutely brilliant,” said Neilson. “The support we’ve had and they’re now donating the money they would have spent on the Final to the Foundation. It all comes back to the club.
“The financial results came in for last year were a lot better than we all expected and we’re still expecting to post quite a significant loss for the year coming because of the crisis. So any money coming in is definitely beneficial for everyone.
“We’ve got the benefactors with their donations and the Foundation of Hearts but it’s all money that is coming in to try to help the club and build it to go forward.
“It was a surprise, definitely for me as I don’t deal with the financial side of it, and when you see the results coming in for 99 per cent of the sides it’s all losses so to be able to do that so it’s great.”
Hearts still have two league fixtures to play before they can think about the cup final however, starting with Saturday’s trip to Cappielow to take on Greenock Morton.
It’s been 32 years since the teams have played each other competitively, although Neilson’s more recent visits with Dundee United have him well versed on what to expect from David Hopkin’s team.
“It’s been a while and I didn’t realise how long it’s been,” he admitted.
“I’ve been there a few times in the last couple of years so it’s always a very tough place to go.
“The surface makes it difficult and it’s quite compact as well. They set up quite defensively and it’s up to the opposition to break them down and they try to hit you with set plays and counter attacks.
“We know we’ll get quite a bit of possession. It’s up to us to make sure we have the bit of quality in the final moment to get the goal.”
Defender Craig Halkett is available again after missing the Betfred Cup defeat to Alloa last week with a back spasm that occurred during the warm up.
However, winger Josh Ginnelly’s best hope is a place on the bench as Hearts carefully bring him back from a thigh injury that’s kept him out for six weeks.
“Halkett will be available and I’m hoping to get Ginnelly for the bench,” Neilson explained. “He has been running, he has not taken part in full training, he did some sprints yesterday and came through it okay.
“We’re desperate to get him back in, we’re just a bit wary that it was a thigh injury. You can get away with a hamstring or a calf but with a thigh you have to be careful.”