Hearts’ hopes of being saved by league reconstruction look to have been dashed at a meeting of Premiership clubs.
The Tynecastle side are now staring relegation in the face after discussions to reshape the leagues were chucked out.
Hearts, currently bottom of the Premiership with eight rounds of fixtures remaining, will be demoted if the SPFL decide to end the season, as is looking increasingly likely.
Talks over reconstruction broke down at a meeting today, according to Aberdeen chairman Dave Cormack.
Speaking after the summit involving Premiership clubs, Cormack said: “The strong feeling of the group was that we must focus all of our energies on emerging from the crisis we face, due to the pandemic, on getting back to playing football safely and getting fans back into grounds as soon as practicably possible.
“Whilst the group sympathises with the plight of the situation the relegated teams are faced with, it concluded that this is not the right time to consider immediate reconstruction in the midst of a crisis. But the group is willing to engage in and pick up on these discussions once we are through COVID-19.”
The meeting was described as “constructive, with a full and open discussion on reconstruction” but the stark news for Hearts is that the relegation trapdoor has now been opened.
It also means relegation for Partick Thistle and Stranraer, who were bottom of the Championship and League 1, respectively, when the lower leagues were called.
Hearts owner Ann Budge has threatened legal action if the club is relegated before the season has been completed.