Craig Levein: Hearts must solve Tynecastle pitch problem

The playing surface at Tynecastle is causing concern
The playing surface at Tynecastle is causing concern
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Hearts manager Craig Levein admits the club must address their problematic pitch come the end of the season. Winter matches have seen the Tynecastle playing surface worsen and Levein knows a solution must be found.

Club directors are considering installing a hybrid pitch this summer but that would cost around £1 million. The state-of-the-art technology is used at grounds such as BT Murrayfield, Anfield, Old Trafford and Wembley.

Hybrid surfaces have artificial fibres injected into the top layer of soil to help anchor natural grass. The turf recovers quicker than grass and is able to withstand more than 40 fixtures per season.

Hearts replaced their pitch last February and intended it to last 18 months before they would invest in a hybrid. The increased cost of Tynecastle’s new main stand, which has risen from £12m to £15m, could impact those plans, with the pitch due for discussion at board level.

Ten of Hearts’ 14 matches since mid-November have been played on their home turf and it is now worse for wear. Levein conceded it must be looked at.

“Saturday against St Johnstone was the wettest the pitch has been and players were sliding all over the place,” he said. “There wasn’t much strong structure at the top of the soil. The only thing which might be worse is when it’s completely dry, like it was last January. Then it just crumbles.

“The pitch just now isn’t crumbling because the wetness is holding together, but it is scarring quite badly. I don’t know what we can do about that. I think it’s something that will need to be dealt with in the summer.

“We’ve discussed it but there is obviously so much going on financially with other things to attend to. It is a concern that we need to address at some point.”