Roman: second place is 'under-achievement'

HEARTS chairman Roman Romanov has revealed the board is considering staying at Tynecastle while the main stand is rebuilt.

The project is now due to go ahead in the autumn and it had been thought that the Jambos would decant to Murrayfield.

However, Romanov said: "We intend to knock the old stand down around September or October and we are still on track to do that.

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"It could take up to one and a half years to build the new stand so next season we would consider playing at Murrayfield or staying at Tynecastle and play with three stands.

"It is all down to money. It is logical that Murrayfield would be our first choice but it is all down to money. If it is too expensive for us to play there then we will stay at Tynecastle.

"At the moment, we are working hard on this project and are close to signing agreements with architects. We have engineers in place and I'm confident that this work will be done. We have mentioned building a new stadium at times, and whilst that still may be an option in the future, we feel that, for now, Tynecastle can more than meet our needs."

Romanov junior also revealed that even a second-place finish and Champions League qualification may not be sufficient to keep Graham Rix his job as Hearts head coach.

Outlining his vision for the future for the club, as formulated by his father, majority shareholder Vladimir, Romanov made it clear that, in the future, second place may be regarded as failure.

Rix's six-month contract with Hearts concludes in May and his future has yet to be ascertained.

The ambition of the Lithuanians has always been boundless but, ahead of tomorrow's vital SPL meeting with Rangers at Tynecastle Romanov has intimated the intensity of his intentions for Hearts.

"I think second place would always be under-achievement, even this season," admitted Romanov. "Our ambition is first and that is what we are working towards. That may be over-optimistic but we will not give up hope.

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"We are happy with what is being done by the manager at the moment but, of course, we expect more. The manager is expected to win every game, but we will sit down and assess the situation in the summer and make our decisions then.

"We will look at what was done right and what was done wrongly, and decide if we are happy or not happy."

Romanov, when not attending matches personally this season, has had footage either beamed live to Lithuania or sent out on DVD for his and his father's perusal.

He believes there is room for improvement on Hearts' current league position and wants a long-term strategy in place to take the club forward.

"We have had too many draws this season and that seems to have been costly," added the 30-year-old. "We now must hope to finish he season strongly and then look at things from there.

"We have to decide if the club is moving in the right direction."

Hearts have also re-negotiated their deal with Danish sportswear firm Hummel after the Romanovs made clear their dislike of the quality of Hearts merchandise.

"We looked at the Hummel deal and we were disappointed," said Romanov. "It was originally agreed for four years but we have now re-negotiated with them and the quality will improve an awful lot for next season."