Hearts increase surveillance and security at Tynecastle after fighting

Hearts owner Ann Budge
Hearts owner Ann Budge was left angry by recent behaviour

Hearts are being forced to increase surveillance and security inside and outside Tynecastle Stadium to address recent problems with fan behaviour.

The decision follows fighting before and after a match against Motherwell, as well as verbal abuse directed at Dundee United manager Mixu Paatelainen.

Hearts owner Ann Budge says additional policing will cost the Premiership club £40,000-£50,000 this season.

"We will be clamping down on supporters who behave unacceptably," she said.

"Allowing a tiny minority of supporters to bring the club's reputation into disrepute is something we will not tolerate.

"This will mean more stringent checks and more surveillance both inside and outside the stadium."

Budge's statementexternal-link came a day after St Johnstone were told they would no longer be allocated additional tickets promised for Saturday's Scottish League Cup semi-final at Hearts' stadium.

The Scottish Professional Football League said it had taken the decision to give the remaining Main Stand tickets to Hibernian fans instead following advice from police and security staff at Tynecastle.

Budge expressed her anger that, despite having already banned a number of supporters from their stadium, Hearts were forced to call for police assistance for a third time this season to the recent Motherwell game "due to rival fans fighting in the streets, in the immediate environs of the stadium, both before and after the game".

Tynecastle Stadium
Ticket arrangements were altered for the League Cup semi-final at Tynecastle Stadium

"I cannot begin to tell you how angry this makes me, when we are working so hard to put the club back at the heart of the community," she said.

"We have had to agree that we will have no police-free matches between now and the end of the season.

"Apart from the reputational damage that this behaviour causes the club, its employees and its supporters, this is £40,000-£50,000 that we cannot put towards our stadium and facilities improvements programme."

Budge added that additional stewarding, and video cameras, will be in place around the opposition dugout following "excessive verbal abuse" of Paatelainen.

The SPFL recently set up a working group to examine problems relating to anti-social behaviour by fans and has launched an investigation into "unacceptable behaviour" during the match against Dundee United.

Despite what she viewed as problems created by a minority of fans, Hearts' owner expressed her delight at the club's progress in a first half of the season in which they have enjoyed sell-outs at almost all their home matches, as well as record-breaking business in their hospitality suites.

Budge also revealed that, with Hearts' retail franchise with SRM Management coming to an end after seven years, they would revert to an in-house operation from 31 January.