Hearts make decision on B team arrangement ahead of new Lowland League season

Home games switched to Ainslie Park with night-time kick-offs
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Hearts have reached an agreement with Spartans to play B team home games at Ainslie Park next season.

The Evening News understands that the Lowland League team will play home fixtures on a Friday night at the north Edinburgh venue, alternating that time slot with the Spartans under-20s side.

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It brings to an end the season-long arrangement Hearts had with Whitehill Welfare to ground-share at Ferguson Park in Rosewell during their first season in the Lowland League. Maintaining a grass pitch like Ferguson Park to a high standard for two home teams throughout the winter months is difficult and is likely to have been a factor in the decision.

Hearts B team are on the moveHearts B team are on the move
Hearts B team are on the move

Ainslie Park is an artificial pitch and will be hosting SPFL League Two football next season after Spartans secured promotion for the first time. Hearts hope the 3G playing surface will be an improvement on the grass at Ferguson Park. They also hope playing on a Friday night in north Edinburgh rather than a Saturday in Rosewell will attract more fans to support the B team.

Tynecastle officials are understood to have enquired about using Stenhousemuir’s Ochilview, which the reserves have used in previous years, before finalising an arrangement with Spartans instead.

Ainslie Park, which now has a new stand in operation, is in high demand. Spartans also have an a ground-share arrangement in place with East of Scotland Premier Division side Lothian Thistle Hutchison Vale for alternative Saturdays and their women’s team play SWPL fixtures at Ainsile Park on a Sunday. Edinburgh City’s men and Hibs women are among previous tenants.

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Hearts B, along with Celtic and Rangers B, will be playing in the Lowland League again next season as a ‘guest club’ after finishing 13th in their first campaign, but the longer-term future for B teams playing in the league pyramid is up in the air after the Scottish FA pulled the plug on its new Conference League plan for 2024/25.

In the meantime, Hearts will need a new B team head coach to take over next season if Steven Naismith is confirmed as first-team boss.

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