HEARTS were due to comfort their fans slightly following yesterday’s Scottish Cup loss to Hibs by paying off the £450,000 tax bill which at one stage threatened to put the club out of business. The final instalment is due today, and club officials were set to process the money this morning.
That news will be small consolation for supporters after the 1-0 defeat by Hibs at Easter Road saw the Scottish Cup holders exit the tournament at the first hurdle. A David Wotherspoon shot deflected off Marius Zaliukas with only eight minutes remaining to send Hibs into the fifth round and end Hearts’ 12-game unbeaten run in the Edinburgh derby.
Manager John McGlynn afterwards underlined that the priority was for his club to survive their current financial problems, which intensified last month with a winding-up order over unpaid VAT and PAYE monies totalling £449,692.04. Initially, the cash was to be paid within eight days until a payment plan was agreed stating the bill must be cleared by close of business today.
Hearts are now in a position to settle after receiving £300,000 from Rangers on Friday as part of David Templeton’s transfer to Ibrox in August. Fans have also raised more than £700,000 through a share issue.
“The priority is that the football club survives. We shouldn’t underestimate that,” stressed McGlynn. “We need to make sure the financial battle we have is one we win.”
Hearts could yet be hit with a further tax bill of £1.75million relating to players loaned from the Lithuanian club FBK Kaunas between 2005 and 2010. However, that matter is being disputed.