Gorgie pubs looking forward to return of Tynecastle capacity crowds
Publicans in Gorgie say they are over the moon that Tynecastle Park will be welcoming a near-to-capacity crowd for the first time in almost a year and a half.
Hearts entertain Aberdeen at Tynecastle on Sunday for their first home match of the cinch Premiership 2021/22 campaign, with all season ticket holders permitted to return to the ground for the first time since March 7, 2020.
On that occasion, a crowd of 17,339 witnessed the Jam Tarts draw 1-1 with Motherwell, with few in the stadium that day anticipating the restrictions that were to follow.
Earlier this month, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced that full capacity crowds would be allowed to return in Scotland from August 9, allowing sporting institutions to welcome crowds of more than 5,000.
A maroon army of 12,000 season ticket holders will be allowed to attend Tynecastle this Sunday, and 1,340 briefs have also been allocated for away supporters.
While still short of the stadium’s overall capacity of 20,099, the new rules mean the home side can expect a crowd in excess of 13,000 for the game.
Having been starved of matchday income for 17 months, local businesses say they are pleased larger crowds can return to the Gorgie district at long last.
A bar worker from The Athletic Arms, known locally as ‘The Diggers’, told the Evening News said they are feeling positive, but remain wary about maintaining social distancing and keeping areas sanitised.
They said: “Obviously we are a bit apprehensive about the whole thing, but the customers have been welcoming and embraced the change, they have been great but have all wanted to get back to normal as quick as possible.
"We’re definitely a little bit sceptical, and I guess a bit prudent of sanitising and keeping up social distancing from each other when we need to, but on a whole pretty positive about the change.”
A worker from Stratford’s bar in Gorgie Road said they were looking forward to the pub being packed for match day once more.
They said: “We’re excited to get rid of some more restrictions after Tynecastle goes back to full capacity.
"Since there’s just more than 1300 Aberdeen tickets and the rest are Hearts season ticket holders for the game on the 22nd, we’re hoping to be at full capacity.”