Edinburgh council safety officers will decide today whether Tynecastle Park can host Hearts’ Ladbrokes Premiership match against Partick Thistle tomorrow.
Council inspectors will assess the ground’s new £12 million main stand again at 12 this afternoon after failing to award a safety certificate yesterday.
There are still several areas to be ratified before the required paperwork can be signed off by the council. If builders cannot complete the work in time, Hearts will be forced to postpone tomorrow’s fixture.
The club are desperate to stage the match as planned and remain confident it will go ahead. Construction staff worked through the night last night in an attempt to get the stand ready, and Hearts owner Ann Budge is hopeful of a positive verdict.
“I know every Hearts supporter, and indeed every Partick Thistle supporter, is awaiting the announcement that will confirm or otherwise, whether our upcoming game can be played at Tynecastle Park on Sunday, November 19,” she said in a statement last night.
“I cannot, at this time, definitively say ‘yes’ but I can say that every indication points to the game going ahead. Following our meeting with CEC officials this [Friday] morning, there are a few elements of work still to be completed. Our construction management team is very confident that this will be achieved.
“A final visit will take place tomorrow [Saturday] at 12 noon, following which I hope to be able to issue a ‘we are open for business’ message early tomorrow afternoon. However, no guarantees!” Budge added: “Returning again to the fact that this is still a ‘work-in-progress’, I want to stress that the building is, in large part, still a building site.”
Despite several inspections in recent days, the most recent of which was at 9am yesterday morning, the new stand does not yet meet safety regulations.
The council is keen to do everything possible to help Hearts and will make safety officers available up until the 3pm kick-off tomorrow if required. That option – although appealing if it results in the desired go-ahead – carries the obvious risk of a very last-minute call-off. Tynecastle officials would prefer a resolution today to avoid mounting uncertainty tomorrow morning as kick-off nears.
Partick Thistle and the Scottish Professional Football League have been briefed on the situation and lines of communication remain open between all three parties.
Thousands of fans in both Edinburgh and Glasgow are awaiting the outcome.