Building inspectors are due at Tynecastle tomorrow morning to once again look over Hearts’ main stand ahead of Sunday’s match against Partick Thistle.
Workers have been trying frantically in the past 36 hours to finish off parts of the structure to allow a safety certificate to be granted in time for the Jambos’ Premiership game with the Jags.
Builders worked a nightshift and throughout today after the last inspection yesterday. Progress has been made, but it remains to be seen whether they have done enough to allow the stadium to be open for Sunday afternoon’s fixture.
If building inspectors are happy with the stand, then a team from the public safety arm of City of Edinburgh Council would visit Tynecastle and, in conjunction with the emergency services, do their own assessments and issue the necessary paperwork if all standards are met.
However, if the inspectors leave Gorgie tomorrow morning dissatisfied with the situation, Hearts will have to decide whether to call the match off or do more work into the weekend to get everything up to speed. The council has reiterated that they are happy to do further checks into the weekend if required, but time is running against the club.
Hearts officials have remained in constant dialogue with the council, Partick Thistle and the Scottish Professional Football League regarding the ongoing situation.
Tynecastle has been closed since July as Hearts complete the reconstruction of their multi-million-pound main stand. The ground was due to be used for the match against Aberdeen on September 9 before delays to seat shipments and construction resulted in that game, and subsequent ties against Rangers and St Johnstone, being moved to BT Murrayfield.
The club had hoped to play their encounter with Kilmarnock on November 5 at Tynecastle in front of their new stand but that match, too, was switched to the home of Scottish rugby. BT Murrayfield is not an option for this weekend’s match, nor is it for the game against Ross County a week on Saturday, as it is being used for Scotland’s Autumn Tests against New Zealand and Australia.
The whole project – which is likely to run over the initial £12million budget and includes state-of-the-art dressing rooms, media facilities, hospitality suites, a Skyline restaurant and a piazza area outside – is not due for completion until summer 2018, when the new main stand will be fully operational on every level. It is due to increase Tynecastle’s capacity to more than 20,000 people.