First team

Home comforts

24 November 2023

Steven Naismith admits the international break has been beneficial for the Jambos as they look to regroup and go again ahead of a busy festive period.


The men in maroon picked up a big three points at Fir Park, prior to the break, and they will look to pick up where they left off as they welcome St Johnstone to Tynecastle Park on Saturday.


Speaking to the media at the pre-match press conference, Naismith said:


“The international windows have been really effective for us. We have had a good routine in terms of what we want to do during the week. Really drilling down the things, we want to do, regardless of who we play, or what formation we play.


“The break has been good for that, but we are also getting boys who are coming back, who are able to get minutes in a game that is a bit more controlled.”


The Perth Saints currently sit 10th in the table; however, they have only lost one of their last six games and appear to be gathering some momentum under new manager Craig Levein.


The men in maroon picked up the victory when the sides met on the opening day of the season and while acknowledging the challenges that the visitors will pose, Naismith insists the focus is on Hearts to put on a show in front of a sold-out Tynecastle.


“Craig has great knowledge and experience in Scottish football. They will be well-organised. His organisation skills have been shown through the years so that is what we expect from them. I think a lot of the games this season that they have played in, it has been small margins, so they have been unfortunate in that respect, but for us, the main the focus is us.


“We are at home, so we want to be the team in possession and cause them more problems than they cause us, and we have had a couple of good league performances recently to back that up.”


Finally, there was more positive news on the injury front as Hearts’ long-term absentees continue their respective roads to recovery.


“Every long-term injury is back out on the grass and involved in some aspect of training,” Naismith added.


“Natty Atkinson and Barrie McKay have been involved this week in training. In the coming weeks, they will look to come back into the main group for most of training. There is then a period of sustaining that level before we begin to look at them for games.


“Craig Gordon and Craig Halkett are also really close to being back involved with the squads, which is another positive for us.”


You can watch Steven’s press conference in full on Hearts TV.