HEARTS have taken another step on their journey towards fan ownership after Edinburgh businessman Brian Cormack was appointed to the Tynecastle club's board of directors.

Cormack, a founding member of Foundation of Hearts (FoH), becomes the second supporter representative on the Jambos board, joining Ian Murray MP.

Hearts owner Ann Budge has been clear in her desire to forge strong links with the FoH ahead of handing them control by 2019, subject to the fans' group providing yearly working capital of £1 million and ultimately repaying the £2.5 million her BIDCO paid to rescue the club from administration last summer.

Cormack's appointment is another pivotal step in that handover process, aimed to ensure regime change takes place without a hitch.

The 51-year-old will join Budge, Murray - who recently became the only surviving Labour MP in Scotland - operations director Eric Hogg and director of football Craig Levein on the board.

He said: "It was an honour to be asked by the FoH board, and it was accepted by Ann [Budge] and the Hearts board that I am the next person - so it's fantastic.

"I never imagined one day becoming a Hearts director. When I got involved with the Foundation it was never in my thoughts, we were just trying to save the club.

"There is already a strong relationship between both FoH and the club and this only strengthens that.

"Ann has said that she feels the club and the Foundation are one, and that's exactly how we feel."

FoH currently boast more than 8,000 pledgers who provide Hearts with an additional income of approximately £1.5 million per year and, speaking at the group's historic maiden AGM in December, Budge confirmed the club would be running at a loss without that additional capital.

Cormack's ascension to the board will see him work closely with the existing directors on Hearts' return to the Scottish Premiership next season, while aiming to continue the growth of FoH.

And he fully expects the support of Budge, who has backed the group since its inception.

Cormack continued: "Right from the start, Ann was part of the Foundation team going back to 2011. That has continued when Ann was part of the bid team when we were made preferred bidder. Then she eventually took control of the club.

"The Foundation has worked very closely with Ann, sometimes on a weekly basis. Now, together, one of our main priorities will be to increase the number of supporters backing the club by pledging to the Foundation.

"Ann has repeatedly emphasised how vital this is to the club's well-being, and we will continue to work to get this message out to all Hearts fans."

Speaking prior to Cormack's official unveiling, Budge said: "I do feel that I am looking after the club on behalf of the supporters. That's why I got involved with the club in the first place.

"With the 8000 or so supporters pledging; it's amazing. Nobody believed it would work, with very few exceptions. There were people who said it just wouldn't work and thought that once the club was stable that everyone would cancel.

"I genuinely do not think that will happen. I really don't and that underpins everything that we are doing at this club."