Hibs' East Stand to be open for season opener

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THE brand new East Stand at Easter Road will be open for Hibs' first home SPL game of the season against Rangers on Sunday, 22 August.

The ground will be at its full new 20,250 capacity for the first home league game of the season with the club set to announce today that construction of the 6,400-seat structure will be finished ahead of schedule.

Hibs were always reluctant to reveal a target date for finishing the multi-million pound project - the final piece in the Easter Road redevelopment jigsaw. But it is understood the club requested that at least the first game of the 2010-11 season be away from home.

The opening round of SPL fixtures sees Hibs travel to Motherwell's Fir Park for a noon kick-off on Sunday and it was not expected that the new stand would be ready for the visit of Rangers the following weekend, leading to a restricted number of tickets for travelling supporters and a reduced overall capacity.

But the news that the full ground will be open for the first time is a massive boost to the Hibees - both in terms of the size of the crowd and the extra revenue it will generate.

The club has been selling season tickets for the new stand since announcing the demolition of the much-loved old East Terracing and those fans will now be able to take their seats for the first time to cheer on Hibs as they take on the SPL cahmpions.

Hibs chief executive Scott Lindsay said: "From the day that the demolition team moved onto site, this has been a real team effort. There have been numerous people and companies involved and everyone has worked beyond the call of duty to get the new East Stand on-line in time for our first home fixture of the new SPL campaign.

"I would specifically like to put the club's sincere thanks on record to Hall Construction for delivering such a stunning structure a full month ahead of schedule.

"We're absolutely thrilled to be able to open the East Stand in time for the match against the SPL champions and everyone at the club, not least the manager and players, cannot wait for kick-off in front of a capacity crowd in the completed Easter Road Stadium.

"It will be an historic moment, one that many fans will not want to miss and it would be wonderful to mark the occasion with a full house and an electric atmosphere inside the new-look stadium."