MORTON captain Jim McAlister says he is already dreaming of leading his side in a long-awaited showdown against Hearts at Tynecastle next season.

Remarkably, the two clubs have not played against one another in competitive action since 1988.

The Jambos' relegation means that they will finally face one another, albeit only three times in the curtailed Championship season which is due to start in October.

McAlister said: “From our point of view, we want Hearts in the league because we want to test yourself against teams like that.

“I want to go and play at places like Tynecastle and want them to come to Cappielow, hopefully with a support, if it's allowed by then.

“To have Hearts, and even Dundee, in the league at the same time is potentially really good for the league and hopefully we can get some sort of revenue from those games.

“Raith Rovers have come up as well, and they usually bring a decent travelling support so it’s good to play in these kind of games and hopefully clubs can benefit from it.

“It’s obvious that Hearts don’t want to be in the league, but we want them here purely for the experience of going and playing at Tynecastle.

"It's a great opportunity for some of the boys in the dressing room and players at this level.”

Ann Budge is currently challenging her club's relegation through the courts and McAlister hopes that the case doesn’t cause any extra delay to the beginning of the season.

McAlister admits he can understand Hearts' point of view and wonders whether the 2019-20 campaign could possibly have been concluded on the park to avoid such legal wrangles.

He told the Tele: “Things could get really messy now with Hearts and Partick Thistle taking the SPFL to court.

“You take a look at England and see that they’ve been able to finish their season and you can understand their frustration.

“It would have taken a few weeks to get up to speed but you can’t help but think, was the decision made too quickly to call it?"

Turning back to on-the-field matters, the Ton skipper says he is content to play a shortened 2020-21 campaign with only 27 fixtures on the programme.

He said: “If it’s 27 games being played it’s effectively like the Premiership, pre-split.

“If that’s what we need to do to get things back up and running, to get back to training and playing games then I am fine with it, because we have never have a period of time off like this, unless you’re seriously injured or without a club.

“Whatever schedule that they put out for us then we’ll be happy to adhere to that.

“They’re trying to limit the damage of not having fans present but there was some talk it might only be a month or so before we can allow a percentage of fans back into the stadium, which would be good to see."