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Hearts boss: We don't need Rangers help in financial crisis

Updated: Thursday, 27 Jun 2013 15:42 | Comments

Hearts and Rangers will not meet in pre-season
Hearts and Rangers will not meet in pre-season

Hearts boss Gary Locke has told the Rangers fans who say they would have snubbed a proposed friendly with the administration-hit Jambos that they do not need their help.

Reports this week claimed the Tynecastle manager had approached Ibrox counterpart Ally McCoist in the hope of lining up a fundraising match to help the financially stricken capital club.

But a spokesman for the Rangers Supporters Association claimed the Light Blues faithful would not have attended the fixture after Hearts voted against plans to allow Rangers to re-enter the Scottish Premier League following their liquidation last summer.

Locke, though, insists he spoke to McCoist before Hearts called in administrators BDO and claims the only backing they need is from the Gorgie support.

He said: "I was asked a question about whether I'd spoken to Ally. Of course I did but it was really just to see what his pre-season plans were, just because we needed a game. It was done before we went into administration and was the same as I've done with just about every manager in Britain.

"Ally said that Rangers had their pre-season plans in place. That was as far as it went.

"Then I picked up papers saying I was begging for a game. That's certainly not the case. I know Ally well and I was just trying to get a pre-season game. It wasn't a must. I've asked Berwick Rangers for a game but they have got their plans organised but that never gets a mention because it's Rangers.

"We will get out of this situation on our own. We have got a great fan base that will help us and we won't be relying on anyone else."

Hearts have lined up warm-up clashes with Dunfermline and Raith Rovers and will also travel to Belfast for a four-team tournament involving hosts Crusaders, Liverpool and Celta Vigo and are keen to host a money-spinning friendly at Tynecastle on 20 July.

"There's a couple of things that I am hoping we can get sorted in the next day or so," said Locke. "We're hoping it will be really good opposition because it's important we get a good game just for the preparation of the players."

Hearts today rejected newspaper reports that sponsors Wonga.com had handed them a £1million advance to help their battle for survival.

They say the true amount is only a "significant five-figure sum" but every little helps a club £25million in debt to major shareholders UBIG and Ukio Bankas and with a £750,000 funding gap to be bridged if they are to kick-off the new season.

The club will start the season with minus 15 points and are banned from registering new players.

The current squad members are still waiting to be paid their June salaries with no indication if they will ever appear.

Locke is hopeful next month's wages will arrive on time and insists his tight-knit squad is prepared to work for free while BDO troubleshooters Bryan Jackson, Trevor Birch and James Stephen seek new owners for the SPL side before the 12 July deadline for offers.

"It's not great that we are not getting paid but it's the least of our worries," claimed the former club captain. "It's not easy, there's no point pretending that it is. But in an unfortunate sense, we have got used to it over the years.

"We are all trying to do our best. We have got to stick together because we all want the best for Heart of Midlothian and if it means going a month without a salary, all the boys are prepared to do that.

"You have seen the commitment of all the staff here, with people working for free and boys taking wage cuts. It's a big ask but we are all prepared to do that. It shows we have the right people here."

The Hearts team returned to pre-season training this morning but Locke insists none of his men refused to lace up their boots.

He said: "We've not had anything like that at all. The boys reported back this morning, Trevor spoke to them and told them exactly what was going on. The boys were delighted with that - they are getting the truth.

"There is no problems with [anyone not wanting to train]. We have got a young squad and they are fully committed, as are the management team."

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