Hearts deliver late payments for 33 players

The Hearts first-team squad for season 2011/12
A number of Hearts squad members are still waiting for their wages

Hearts have announced that 33 players have received their salaries and the remainder will be paid "as soon as practically possible".

After October's wages at Tynecastle were delayed for 19 days, players were again due to be paid on 16 November.

On Tuesday, Hearts settled a tax bill of more than £1m with Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs.

A club statement said: "Over half the squad has been paid and we will pay the rest as soon as practically possible."

Including their under-19 squad members, Hearts have 60 players on their books.

During the last long wait for wages, players were persuaded not to lodge an official complaint with the Scottish Premier League by manager Paulo Sergio.

Hearts are more than £30m in debt and BBC Scotland understands the Edinburgh club are aiming to reduce the wage bill dramatically in a major cost-cutting exercise.

Earlier this month, owner Vladimir Romanov indicated that he would consider selling the club.

Hearts' ban on commenting in the Scottish media means there was no response from Tynecastle about a report in Russian news agency RIA Novosti stating that Romanov wishes to sell all the football clubs with which he is involved.

Romanov, who has a majority shareholding in Lithuania's FK Kaunas and Partizan Minsk in Belarus, earlier this month said he was open to offers for Hearts but is now quoted as saying that he has "given orders to find buyers for all my clubs" and that he wishes to now own a theatre.

Meanwhile, former Hearts skipper Robbie Neilson could line up against his old team on Saturday, having signed a short-term deal at Dundee United this week.

And the 31-year-old full-back reckons the continued wage delays will have no baring on the contest.

"The off-field stuff won't be affecting them at all," he said.

"We had the same situation when I was there and if anything it unites a squad as opposed to pulling it apart.

"The boys are all in it together and I'm sure it will be difficult. They have strong characters, guys like Andy Webster.

"Financial issues like that aren't going to bother the boys.

"Maybe Monday to Friday but when it comes to a Saturday it doesn't make a difference."

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