A BINGLEY-based sports turf consultancy has helped Scottish football club Hearts install a new pitch for the upcoming season.

The new hybrid pitch will get its first real test of the season when Heart of Midlothian take on champions Celtic on Saturday, August 11.

STRI Group, specialists in sports turf and based on the St Ive's Estate, were brought in to design and manage a new pitch being installed earlier this summer.

It enlisted Carrick Sports and SIS Grass to install the pitch and oversaw the entire process.

A world first environmental monitoring system was also installed at Hearts' home ground Tynecastle Park.

The new pitch has undersoil heating, new drainage and irrigation systems, and the pitch is a hybrid of grass and artificial turf.

The old grass surface was ripped up straight after the final game at the start of May and the new pitch was completed in time for a cup game against Cowdenbeath in July.

Ann Budge, chair of Hearts, said: “This was another 'impossible timetable' according to many, and yet we managed to achieve it.

"We have to thank Carrick Sports and SIS Grass for taking on the challenge and STRI for managing the process for us.”

Gordan Howat, project manager for STRI, added: "As is always the case with stadium reconstruction projects, the timeframe for delivery was tight, and access restrictions proved challenging.

"However, the club, STRI and Carrick Sports worked in collaboration to overcome these issues, and in association with SIS Grass, have produced a terrific surface that Hearts can be proud of.

"Everybody within the project team is delighted with what has been accomplished this summer.”

STRI also installed an ultramodern environmental monitoring system - the first of its kind to be deployed in any stadia.

The stadium benefits from the highest levels of monitoring and data analysis available in the world, with live moisture levels positioned across the pitch to automatically collect data, including air temperature in the stadium and light levels for grass growth.

Ms Budge added: “STRI’s environmental monitoring system will allow the grounds team at Tynecastle to ensure that the surface is maintained at the highest standard.”