HEARTS have released FIFTEEN players – with Australian international forward Oliver Bozanic and veteran striker Steven MacLean among the exodus.
Owner Ann Budge insists the club had no option but to allow the players to move on at the end of their contracts due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to a report in the Scottish Sun.
Central defender Clevid Dikamona also left the Tynecastle club, but was already on his way before the announcement after refusing to take a pay cut in March.
He was joined by youngsters Jay Nwanze and Brodie Strang while January signings Donis Avdijaj and Marcel Langer, signed by head coach Daniel Stendel, will also be released when their short-term deals end on June 9, along with loan stars Ryo Meshino, Joel Periera and Toby Sibbick.
Youngsters Daniel Baur, Alex Petkov, Kelby Mason, Dean Ritchie and Rory Currie will also depart.
Former manager Craig Levein and his No2 Austin MacPhee have also left the troubled Edinburgh club who have been relegated following the SPFL’s decision to end the Premiership season and award the title to Celtic for the ninth successive season.
Hearts were trailing Hamilton Accies by four points when the game went into lockdown.
The club, though, still remain locked in talks with Jamie Brandon, Lewis Moore and Euan Henderson, who will be out of contract this summer.