First team

Naismith: A controlled performance

01 November 2023

 Steven Naismith praised his Hearts side for what he described as a controlled performance as the men in maroon defeated Livingston 1-0 at Tynecastle.


Speaking to Hearts TV at full-time, Naismith said:  “It was a really controlled performance with a good tempo.


“It was a game that we expected to be tough and awkward in the way that they set up and how we had to break them down.


“We knew that would take time. It wasn’t a case of if we don’t score in the first ten minutes it’s panic stations. I think our structure in and out of possession was really good and I thought we were unfortunate not to be a goal or two ahead at half-time.


“The most pleasing aspect was that the players trusted that if they kept doing what they were doing they would get their goal. It can be very easy to panic and go a bit more direct or take shots from distance because you’re desperate for a goal.


“But we had really good control, everybody played their part, and we get a really good goal at the end of it. I think it was a really comfortable performance with lots of good individual performances and a good night all round.”


After a goalless first half, Kenneth Vargas came off the bench to bag his first Hearts goal as the Costa Rican tapped home a Jorge Grant cross to secure all three points.


“I’m delighted for Kenneth," Naismith added. "He has done a lot of hard work at the start of games without getting his reward. So, for him to come on the pitch with his sharp movement, that allows him to get his chance and he has the composure to finish it.”


Attention now turns to Sunday’s Viaplay Cup semi-final against Rangers at Hampden Park.


“We will rest up and prepare like we do for every game,” he concluded. “We will use tonight’s game for a bit of our tactical work, then we will do our pitch stuff and be ready for Sunday which is going to be a great occasion.”