Hearts: Covid tests no financial strain for Championship clubs - Robbie Neilson

Hearts lead the Championship by five points after eight wins from 10 games
Hearts lead the Championship by five points after eight wins from 10 games

Hearts boss Robbie Neilson says the cost of new mandatory Covid testing should not pose a threat to completing the Scottish Championship season.

The 10 second-tier clubs received £500,000 in grant funding from the Scottish government.

League leaders Hearts estimate paying close to £40,000 to have around 50 staff and players tested every week.

"That's less than 10% of the grant that was put in place to assist clubs through this period," said Neilson.

"I would expect that money to be used for what it was to be provided for; to see us through the rest of the season. So, as for the financial side of it, that should not be an issue.

"It's a simple phone call on Monday morning to the company to come and test us and they did that the following day.

"We got the results within five or six hours so I don't think there will be a problem with any of the Championship teams. Thankfully all the results were good."

Part-time Alloa Athletic, who host Hearts on Saturday, have also completed their tests, while it is expected the other eight teams in the division will do likewise before the weekend.

All Scottish leagues below Championship level have been suspended until the end of January, along with Scottish Cup ties.

And Neilson, who is the Championship manager of the month for December, agrees with decision to pause the cup.

"I was at at the game on Monday with Brora Rangers travelling all the way to Camelon and I don't think that's a good idea for teams who are not testing," he said.

Neilson has added experienced winger Gary Mackay-Steven to his squad and aims to bring in "one or two more" before the end of January, including a striker.

"Gary has real quality and he is still hungry to win things," he said. "He brings the whole standard of the group up as well."

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