First team

Naismith: Fans Can Lift Us

01 March 2024

Steven Naismith says the Tynecastle crowd can be a massive boost to his squad ahead of Sunday’s meeting with Celtic.


Hearts welcome the defending champions to Gorgie for a cinch Premiership encounter in front of the Sky Sports cameras.


With a win and a defeat to Brendan Rodgers’ side on the record this season, the boss says the Jambos know what it’ll take to earn another precious three points.


“It’ll be a tough game because they’re a very good team,” he told the media ahead of the game.


“They’ve been the most successful side in Scottish football recently and what they’ve got is experience. Recent months have been tougher for them, with questions asked, but they’re coming into this off the back of a good result.


“Last time against Celtic at Tynecastle was disappointing. We didn’t hit the basic levels we needed and that’s something that has to be different come Sunday. Being at home is a boost because we’ll have the crowd behind us.


“We haven’t kept the ball well enough the last few games, so possession needs to get back to what it was. We showed that in the second half against Hibs but were a bit quick to clear in the first half.


“We go into this full of confidence: one defeat in fourteen and we’re in a nice position in the league which has stemmed from our hard work up to now. Our defending on Wednesday was better but we need to be 100% focused for the full game.


“We need to harness all the confidence we’ve generated over the last few months to give ourselves a good chance.”


Naismith was also able to provide the latest squad news from Oriam: with defender Frankie Kent set for a spell on the sidelines whilst Barrie McKay hit a significant milestone on his return from injury.


“Frankie obviously was struggling towards the end of the Hibs game: he’s had a scan on his knee, so he’ll be out for the next week or two,” confirmed Naismith. “It’s disappointing, but it’s a much better outcome than what it could have been.


“Yutaro Oda’s still out, but Barrie McKay is back training. It’s still very early for him and other than that, such as the long term ones, there’s not much else to report.”