HIBERNIAN have taken the unusual step of assuming control of the sale of tickets to Hearts’ travelling support for the next Edinburgh derby, amid suggestions directors are concerned they may struggle to get money from their financially-stricken rivals.
The Easter Road club already sell briefs to away fans for matches against Celtic and Rangers following a dispute over the Old Firm’s attempts to charge a 5 per cent levy for their role in the process.
However, the move to issue tickets direct to Hearts supporters for the 2 January meeting is an exceptional one and comes at a time when the Gorgie outfit have admitted they are struggling with cash flow worries. Having had to wait 19 days for their October salaries, the first-team squad at Tynecastle are still awaiting their November pay that was due on the 16th of the month, with the recent settlement of a £1 million tax bill being partly blamed for the problems.
Both Edinburgh clubs announced the ticketing arrangements simultaneously yesterday, with officials stressing both parties had approved the move. But if it is understood Hearts’ financial situation was a consideration, Hibs managing director Fife Hyland refused to be drawn, insisting: “Operationally, it’s in line with all our other category A games and it has been done with the agreement of both clubs.”
Tickets went on sale yesterday, with Hearts fans restricted to one per person.