The Edinburgh club’s return to the top flight begins when Ange Postecoglou brings his new team to Gorgie on July 31, and Hearts hope more than 2,000 supporters will be allowed to attend.
Current Covid 19 restrictions are set at level two in the Capital, meaning outdoor stadia events are restricted to just 500 fans. That guidance is due to change when Edinburgh moves to level zero on July 19, permitting a maximum of 2,000 people inside Tynecastle
Hearts hope the Scottish Government will allow an even greater number when the time comes. For now, they are preparing the stadium for its first public attendance in 16 months.
Up to 500 fans can take in the Premier Sports Cup tie against Cove Rangers next Tuesday. On July 25, Inverness Caledonian Thistle visit Tynecastle in the same competition before the league opener against Celtic six days later.
Both those fixtures will have at least 2,000 people present provided Edinburgh switches to level zero as planned on the 19th. If all restrictions are lifted across Scotland on August 9 as intended, full stadiums will once again become possible.
Hearts manager Robbie Neilson admitted excitement is already building ahead of Celtic’s visit.
“It’s a brilliant start for us to be honest, these are the games you look forward to and to get that first game of the season, on TV, raising the flag and hopefully having some fans in, that will be great. Even getting a couple of hundred fans in for pre-season games makes a difference,” he said.
“With any stadium you see the difference and I think even at Ainslie Park last week you saw it. If you come here and there is nobody here and it’s flat, it’s like a reserve game but with a couple of hundred fans it give energy about the place, which is great so we’re really looking forward to going back to Tynecastle and getting some fans in.
“It will be great to get full crowds maybe from August 9 and we hope for the games before that we can get some fans in.”