GARY LOCKE is confident Scottish Premier League officials will lift Hearts’ signing restrictions at the end of the season and allow them to replenish their squad over the summer.
The Tynecastle manager pointed to the fact that players are now being paid on time each month as sufficient cause for sanctions to be withdrawn.
The SPL imposed a blanket transfer embargo on Hearts late last year due to late wages and overdue bonus payments to their squad. That was relaxed in January to allow the club to sign players aged 21 and under on a one-in-and-one-out basis. Any new arrivals also had to be earning equal or less money than the player he replaced.
As things stand, those restrictions remain in place. The SPL said they will not be lifted “until such time as the SPL board is satisfied that the remuneration default is no longer ongoing”. Locke believes Hearts have satisfied those conditions by paying players on time each month since the turn of the year.
“Everything off the pitch in terms of wages has been fine,” he told the Evening News. “The boys have been paid on time and there hasn’t been a problem there. Personally, I can’t really see that (restrictions being lifted) being a problem. One of the issues was to make sure the players were getting paid on time. That’s been done, so we’ll keep our fingers crossed that the signing restrictions are lifted.
“Go back five or six months and the whole place wasn’t great. Fans were rallying round raising money to keep the club afloat. It’s a situation we don’t want to find ourselves in again. If the club is managed properly in terms of players coming in and the wages we’re paying, then hopefully we can move forward in the right direction.”