First team

Naismith anticipates open Aberdeen

07 December 2023

Steven Naismith anticipates an open game at Pittodrie, as Hearts look to continue their fine work on the road.


The Jambos have picked up several key wins away from home this season with a trip to Pittodrie next up for the men in maroon as cinch Premiership business continues.


Hearts last claimed victory in the Granite City back in 2016, with the boss keen to maintain our improved record away from Tynecastle.


“The away form in general has been something that we’ve picked up on,” he told the media ahead of the game.


“We want to try and make that better because it has a big impact on how your season plays out. Not just for this game, but for every away game, we place a big emphasis on that.


“We expect to be able to compete and be solid out of possession. Games with us and Aberdeen have been open, more so than some other games. I don’t think Saturday will be much different. There are similarities between the two clubs in terms of expectation.


The Dons and Hearts have shared five goals in the last two games, with Aberdeen having to contend with the hectic fixture schedule presented by UEFA Europa Conference League involvement.


Naismith knows the impact European forays can have on a season, but expects that Barry Robson will have his Aberdeen team ready for anything.


“We were impacted by it,” he added. “It’s very tough, and it undoubtedly has an impact on clubs in the league. That said, they’ve got a bigger squad. They always present a tough game: last season and this season have both been challenging.


“Saturday’s going to be no different: there’s a bit of pressure there. The thing about a Barry Robson team is that they’re always pumped up and ready for a game. Our record there is a stat you put in the category of being surprised by.”


Finally, Steven was able to offer the latest update on the injury front. Hearts were boosted by the return of Barrie McKay and Nathaniel Atkinson to match action against Rangers in midweek, with Craig Gordon and Craig Halkett both back on the bench.


“We’re as we were,” he said. “No one’s come in today and reported any knocks so we’re looking ok ahead of the weekend.



“It’s good to get Baz and Natty back out on the pitch. This month, everyone will be needed. Whether that’s on Saturday or in the coming weeks, it’s great to have the competition in each position.”