Hearts fans paint the town maroon for title party

Hearts owner Ann Budge was celebrating at Tynecastle with John Robertson as their status as champions was confirmed. Pic: submitted
Hearts owner Ann Budge was celebrating at Tynecastle with John Robertson as their status as champions was confirmed. Pic: submitted
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Hearts fans have taken to the streets and pubs of Gorgie to paint the town maroon after the side were crowned winners of the Scottish Championship title - without even kicking a ball.

Sunday’s match saw Rangers triumph 2-0 over Hibs at Easter Road, confirming the Gorgie club’s return to the top flight as their lead stretched to a colossal 23 points over their second-place city rivals.

And the result - which came on the back of the Jambo’s 3-0 victory over Falkirk on Saturday - will ensure next Saturday’s sold-out match against Queen of the South will boast a party atmosphere many fans will remember for some years to come.

Today high-profile Jambos from across the Capital and further afield spoke of their “absolute delight” at having secured promotion after a dramatic few years that has seen the Tynecastle side relegated and saved from administration.

Lord George Foulkes, former chairman of Hearts and member of the House of Lords, said he was “thrilled” by the result - and insisted it was a great time to be a Jambo.

He said: “It’s been done in such a spectacular way, with only one defeat and with a huge goal difference and a huge goal tally - and with superb football on the park. They’ve really been putting on some splendid performances and some beautiful football.

“Even when we were relegated the spirit was still amazing - people wouldn’t moan. It was astonishing that there was so much optimism.”

The season ticket holder revealed he would be on holiday in France when Hearts lift the Championship cup next weekend, but insisted he would be “raising a glass of wine” as he listened to the game on the radio.

Die-hard Jambo Steve Cardownie, former deputy leader of the city council, watched Rangers triumph over Hibs at a pub in Nairn while visiting his 91-year-old grandmother.

The Forth ward councillor said: “We’ve won it now in record time, I think. I would hazard a bet that we are the first European team to have won our league at this stage in the season - and that in itself is another record. I’ve heard that all my friends back in Edinburgh are in Ryan’s bar celebrating with a drink.

“I must admit, when Hearts were relegated I thought it was going to be a big ask for them to come up again - but how wrong can I be? It’s good news for the city that one of our major teams is back in the premier division. And there’s a good chance that Hibs can maybe come up with us - both Capital teams back up in the premier league.”

And Steve Kilgour, secretary of the Federation of Hearts Supporters’ Clubs, hailed the “fantastic achievement” of the club’s promotion, adding: “I was always convinced we would win the league, but I didn’t think it would be done in such a fashion. I’ll be cracking open the champagne - it’s going to be one big party.”

Derek Watson, chairman of the Hearts Supporters Trust, said any fan disappointment over not being able to secure the title at Tynecastle would soon be replaced with joy that it was “done and dusted.”

He said: “I’m absolutely delighted. I actually expected Hibs to win that game, to be honest. It will be a celebration at Tynecastle next week.”