First team

Naismith: Consistency is key

29 September 2023

Steven Naismith wants his Hearts side to develop greater consistency ahead of tomorrow’s trip to Ross County.


The Jambos head north on league business tomorrow following a thrilling triumph over Kilmarnock in the Viaplay Cup.


A last gasp winner from Alex Lowry sealed a famous maroon triumph at Rugby Park, with the manager conscious of the need to improve performances on the road.


“I believe in what we’re doing, and I believe that over time, we will be successful,” he told the media ahead of the game.


“It’s not going to happen overnight, and that goes for any football club. I said after the St. Mirren game that I was glad we had two away games: because we had a chance to quickly fix the narrative about our form away from home.


“If we can win tomorrow, it will have been a good week for the club. We need to try and build momentum and consistency. There’s a pressure at Hearts to win games and we need to understand and learn from that. I think it’ll be a totally different game from last time. Both teams have seen a change in players, albeit we have a good record up north.”


Hearts’ progress this season has been interrupted by injuries, but Naismith insists it’s an opportunity for squad players to come in and make their mark.


“There’s a few injuries which is frustrating,” he added. “Over the course of the last four weeks, that’s something we’ve had to deal with. It’s tested the squad a little more than you would have liked, but it’s part and parcel of football.


“Kyosuke is back out on the grass. We’re still waiting to hear whether surgery is required for Natty Atkinson – but he’ll be out for months, regardless of whether he needs surgery or not. Yutaro is progressing well but not out on the grass yet.


“What I’ve said to the guys who have come in, is that it’s a great chance for them.”


The big news from Oriam today was that academy graduate Aidan Denholm has put pen to paper on a new deal until 2026.


Having worked with Aidan in his playing days and as a coach, the manager says it’s just rewards for a young player who’s worked hard to develop in a maroon jersey.


“The new contract for Aidan is a sign of the belief that I have in him,” he said. “I trained with him as a kid and his attitude and willingness to listen stood out. It’s something I recognised from when I was a player.


“Aidan’s shown improvement in all aspects of his game; the strength, the nutrition side, his desire to get stronger in the gym. From signing the one year deal in the summer to this, it’s gone quicker for him than expected. We’ve got real faith in him and hopefully he can keep developing.”