Hearts’ preparations for their cinch Premiership return have been hit with a major blow after they were forced to cancel their opening pre-season friendly due to a Covid outbreak.
Robbie Neilson’s Championship winners were due to travel to Shielfield Park on Friday night to take on Berwick Rangers.
But the match has been axed after the virus swept through the club’s Riccarton training base, with five players now self-isolating.
Saturday’s showdown with Linlithgow Rose is also hanging in the balance as the club await instructions from the Scottish Football Association.
The Edinburgh outfit said in a statement: “Hearts’ pre-season friendly match against Berwick Rangers tonight has been cancelled due to positive COVID-19 tests at the club’s training base.
“Five members of Hearts’ football department are now self-isolating in line with COVID-19 guidelines after returning positive lateral flow and PCR tests.
“The club immediately contacted the relevant football authorities upon confirmation of each positive test and it continues to follow protocols to the highest of standards.
“We have also kept our opponents fully informed and it is with regret to our supporters that we will not begin our pre-season friendly campaign as scheduled.
“An update on the club’s friendly match with Linlithgow Rose, scheduled for Saturday 26th, will be provided in due course.”
The Jambos kick-off the new campaign in just two weeks when they face Peterhead at Balmoor in their opening Premier Sports Cup clash on July 10. Neilson’s side will then mark their return to top-flight action when Celtic visit Tynecastle on July 31.
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