Hearts' Robbie Neilson hopes other clubs have used the James Anderson money in the right way

Tynecastle side moved to address coronavirus costs earlier than others

Hearts manager Robbie Neilson during the pre-season friendly match between Hearts and Partick Thistle at Tynecastle Stadium. Photo: Mark Scates / SNS Group
Hearts manager Robbie Neilson during the pre-season friendly match between Hearts and Partick Thistle at Tynecastle Stadium. Photo: Mark Scates / SNS Group

Manager Robbie Neilson has lauded Hearts chairman Ann Budge for her prudence in navigating the coronavirus minefield that now has others predicting a bleak future for many Scottish clubs.

Several figures in the game have warned that without help clubs could go under and others could take 10 years to recover from the current hardship of playing without fans.

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Hearts have been paying to train and test players and staff despite the fact they have been forced to wait to return to competitive action but even with the indefinite delay of supporters returning to games, Nielson has few worries.

“We are in a good position and Ann [Budge] is very clued up on it,” said the Gorgie manager, following his side’s 2-0 friendly triumph over Partick Thistle. “She is clever and, right from the start, she thought this situation would arise, not just with the fans but with the testing scenarios as well.

“So we are still looking to recruit and are planning to get the league started.

“It’s up to other clubs to get themselves into that position. Everyone knew what might happen and a number of teams, like ourselves, budgeted for no fans - but some have budgeted for full houses in October. If you were doing things properly then you probably wouldn’t have done that, would you?

“There has been money put out there already by Mr [James] Anderson [the Edinburgh-based philanthropist] so I’d like to think some of that has been kept for what it should be used for.”

Neilson added that he is now hungry for competitive action to get underway. “We want a good start in the Betfred and the Championship and have a massive semi-final coming up. I feel we are in a good position, with a good team here and a good group of players.

“The semi-final has been one of the drivers for us all the way through pre-season. We knew we had to be ready for that game. Hibs have been playing for months now so we need to make sure we take these games seriously.”

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