Fans react to Hearts’ fine and point deduction over ineligible player

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Hearts fans have had their say after the club was hit with a fine and points deduction after fielding an ineligible player in their Betfred Cup group match against Cove Rangers.

An SPFL panel docked two points, and handed the Tynecastle side a £10,000 fine - of which £8,000 is suspended until the end of the 2019/20 season - for playing Andy Irving in the match at the Balmoral Stadium.

Andrew Irving, inset, was brought on as a substitute during the tie at Balmoral Park.

Andrew Irving, inset, was brought on as a substitute during the tie at Balmoral Park.

The teenager had not been properly registered by Hearts, rendering him ineligible to feature in the competition. The Jambos punishment sees their five-point tally from two matches reduced to three, meaning Craig Levein’s side can still reach the tournament’s knockout phase with two games remaining.

• READ MORE - Hearts fined and deducted points by SPFL for fielding ineligible player

Supporters have been reacting to the punishment on the Evening News’ social media pages.

Derek Wilson wrote: “Talk about throwing money away” while Gaynor Bain added: “Could have been worse.”

Andrew Pennycook posted: “As much as it’s far from ideal, at least we are still in with a slim chance and just need boys to step up! If this isn’t a kick up the backside then nothing will be!”

Willie Stewart asked: “Will the fans that travelled to Cove get their money back?”

Stephen Anthony Jones added: “Seems fair. Hearts should get their act together and this would be avoidable.”

Donald Maccuish wrote: “The whole team is ineligible to play after watching that pathetic display on Saturday [against Raith Rovers].”

Ian McKernan predicted: “we’re not going to progress for the second year running! Long season ahead!”

Darren Priestley said: “Strange one that but I’ll take it” while Shaz Shafiq branded the oversight a “schoolboy errror”.

Roger Hannah posted: “I was expecting to have the game forfeited, giving the points to Cove. Not as bad as expected, but we need to win the next two comfortably.”

James Leslie recalled a similar event with Cove themselves, adding: “Cove done the same thing two years ago in the same competition, they lost 4-0 and still got fined £2,000 so the comparison between club size seems fair and also the 2-point deduction gives us the chance to get 9 points and hopefully skelp the next two teams and all is forgotten about!”

On the Evening News website, Stuart Douglas asked: “Is the SPFL giving us back the point the ref took off us at Raith?”

Ron Delnevo was in a confident mood, writing: “Good decision for Hearts. Two wins and we qualify. That will do nicely! Hearts were two up when they brought the player on. If he had stayed on the bench, a fine would have been enough.”

On Twitter, events from the second group match against Raith Rovers dominated proceedings. Graeme Duthie wanted to know: “Does the ref on Saturday get sanctioned for chalking off a perfectly good goal?”

Willie Laidlaw joked: “Obviously they took into account the fact that we should have had 3 points against Raith and only got 2 so rather than deducting 3 points they only took off 2 to make up the difference!”

Last word to Kris Jackson, who may have had his tongue firmly in his cheek when he wrote: “Another 10-0 win over Cowdenbeath wouldn’t go amiss then!”