Hearts boss Robbie Neilson on more signings, rivals' use of James Anderson money and praise for Ann Budge's budgeting

The Tynecastle manager has insisted the club have moved on from the summer’s controversies

Sunday, 27th September 2020, 7:46 am
Updated Sunday, 27th September 2020, 8:01 am

Hearts boss Robbie Neilson has revealed he is on the lookout for one or two more signings despite the latest Scottish Government restrictions on fans impacting clubs’ budgets.

Speaking after watching his side defeat Partick Thistle at 2-0 Tynecastle Park in their latest pre-season fixture, Neilson praised the work of owner Ann Budge with the club having accounted for no fans.

The news that supporters may not return to grounds for the foreseeable future as the Government reacts to an increasing number of positive Covid-19 cases has raised serious concern amongst Scottish football.

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Robbie Neilson insists the club have moved on as he plans to recruit one or two before the close of the transfer window. Picture: SNS

The SPFL and Scottish FA could ask the Scottish Government for financial assistance with fears clubs could go to the wall without the matchday income which fans bring and the possibility of paying for Covid testing.

Neilson, however, confirmed Hearts are in a strong financial position going into the start of their season when they kick off their competitive action next month with a Betfred Cup tie with Inverness CT thanks to the prudence and common sense of Budge.

The Tynecastle boss also hopes other clubs have been as sensible, especially with the £50,000 donation from club benefactor and philanthropist James Anderson.

“We are in a good position and Ann is very clued up on it,” he said. “She is clever and, right from the start, she thought this situation would arise, not just with the fans but with the testing scenarios as well.

"We are still looking to recruit and are planning to get the league started and get going.

"It’s up to other clubs to get themselves into that position. Everyone knew what might happen and a number of teams, like ourselves, budgeted for no fans - but some have budgeted for full houses in October.

"If you were doing things properly then you probably wouldn’t have done that, would you?”

He added: "There has been money put out there already by Mr Anderson so I’d like to think some of that has been kept for what it should be used for.”

‘Moved on’

Hearts and Neilson are in a position now where they are eagle-eyed looking at the challenges which lay ahead rather than dwelling on the past and perhaps indulging in some schadenfreude after what has unfolded.

October is set to be a hectic month with plenty of fixtures, culminating in the Scottish Cup semi-final with Hibs.

By then, it is hoped “one or two" new signings will have been added.

"We have moved on from what happened and are focused solely on ourselves," he said.

“We want a good start in the Betfred and the Championship and have a massive semi-final coming up. I feel we are in a good position, with a good team here and a good group of players.

“We’ll add one or two to that, and maybe get one or two of the younger ones out on loan to get experience. What will be will be.”

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