First team

Back to basics

26 October 2023

Steven Naismith says the Jambos need to work on tightening up defensively ahead of Sunday’s trip to Ibrox.


Hearts head to Glasgow on cinch Premiership business following a disappointing afternoon against Celtic last weekend.


The manager was frustrated by the goals conceded against Brendan Rodgers’ side and says a back-to-basics approach will help as Hearts look to best the Gers in Govan.


With a new manager at the Ibrox helm in Phillippe Clement, the boss knows the men in maroon will need to put their best foot forward.


“It’s a busy period for the club between the weekend and next week,” he told the media ahead of the game.


“Rangers will be a different one following their change in manager which changes things up slightly. We won’t have as much information as we’d like, but either way, it’ll be a tough game. We need to manage it properly, and if we do, we’ll have a great chance.


“The manner of defeat in the Celtic game was disappointing. The only way to improve things, by any metric, is winning games and that needs to start on Sunday. The record hasn’t been good enough but that needs to change at some point.


“We need to make them work on and off the ball. Following Celtic we know we need to be a lot better defensively. As much as the finishes within the game were good, they were all avoidable.


“Rangers are a very aggressive team, very forward thinking. There’s a lot of things they do that are the same, but ultimately, they’re a very good team. If you let them have the ball and dominate play, they will cause you problems. We’ve got to try and prevent that.


“We’ll have a keen eye on their game tonight but there are fundamentals in every game that mean if we do the basics right – we give ourselves a great chance of performing at a level we expect to be at.”


Naismith confirmed that Japanese forward Kyosuke Tagawa is set to miss out on Sunday’s trip, but there was positive news on other fronts.


“Tagawa was feeling an issue with his hamstring towards the end of last week so he’s out,” he added. “Kingsley has come back into the group, and so has Halkett but that’s with a view to building up his training load.


“Craigy is playing in a game today. He’s similar to Halkett in the sense that he’s building up his work in training and matches. Hopefully within the next two to three weeks he’s further along the road in the amount of training and minutes he’s taken part in.”