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By ESPN Staff

Hearts play down wages issue

Hearts assistant manager Billy Brown has played down the significance of the club's failure to pay the squad's wages on time this month.

Hearts' playing staff are also still waiting on bonuses from last season, but Brown insisted there was nothing "sinister'' about the late payments.

"Wages have been paid,'' said Brown. "They were a couple of days late, which happens with the structure of the club. There was nothing sinister in it and everyone was quite happy and satisfied. I think the players understand the situation, I don't think there was a great problem.

"I think it was blown out of proportion and I haven't heard anyone mention it at training this week. I know there has been issues throughout the summer but there is issues at every football club.

"But [manager] Jim Jefferies, [coach] Gary Locke and I are completely focused on what we are doing and it is a minor distraction as far we concerned.''

Brown, who is preparing for this weekend's Premier League opener against Rangers at Ibrox, added that the deferment of bonuses was due to a pending appeal to the Scottish Football Association over a disciplinary fine of £100,000.

"The bonus situation is an ongoing thing,'' he said. "The disciplinary fine is taken out the bonuses, which was agreed at the start of the season. That fine has been appealed - it was £100,000 - so once that appeal is heard it will be sorted out.

"I don't think it is a great problem, I think it has been magnified out of proportion.''

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