Hearts miss TV cash as cup replay stays on schedule

CASH-STRAPPED Hearts have missed out on a timely £80,000 windfall after it was decided that their Scottish Cup replay with St Johnstone next week will not be screened live on Sky TV.

The Tynecastle club is being pursued by Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs for £150,000 this week, and the playing squad’s monthly wages are due to be paid on Thursday next week. Hearts have struggled to pay their players on time in recent months, and tried to raise funds at the end of January by selling goalkeeper Marian Kello – but he refused to move.

The cup fifth round replay, following last Sunday’s 1-1 draw at Tynecastle, scheduled for Tuesday night at McDiarmid Park, provided an opportunity for the clubs to earn an estimated £80,000 each if the game could be moved to the Thursday night for television. But St Johnstone confirmed last night that, although talks have taken place over moving the game back by two days, this will not happen.

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A statement from the Perth club said: “The club is aware about conjecture that the game may have been switched to next Thursday for live television coverage and we can confirm that the SFA have been in extended dialogue with Sky TV and UEFA regarding that possibility. Uefa permission was required due to there being Europa League fixtures that evening.

“However, it has now been confirmed that the game will not be televised and will go ahead on the original planned date.”

Yesterday, Hearts owner Vladimir Romanov admitted that the outstanding tax bill has yet to be settled.

HMRC lodged a petition at the Court of Session earlier this week saying Hearts had eight days to settle the bill or face liquidation.

“I don’t know what’s going on at Hearts, I’m not in Scotland at the moment,” Romanov told Russian news agency RIA Novosti. “All monies due to the footballers have been paid. It’s probably just that the tax service hasn’t been paid.”

This week’s ultimatum is the third move to wind up the club in four months. The club fended off liquidation attempts in August, November and December after tax bills were settled at the last minute.

A Hearts statement on Tuesday said the club was “confident” the latest debt would be paid in time.

• Second Division title chasers Arbroath have added experienced central defender Chris Innes to their squad until the end of the season. The 35-year-old has played only one game so far this season, when he turned out for East Fife in September.

• Cowdenbeath skipper Jon Robertson will be re-united with his former Central Park manager, Danny Lennon, next season after agreeing to join St Mirren. The 22-year old signed for the Fife club from Murieston Boys Club after being released by Hearts and made his debut in 2008.