First team

Naismith: Maintain the Standard

23 February 2024

Steven Naismith wants Hearts to maintain their high standards of performance ahead of tomorrow’s trip to Ibrox.


The Jambos travel to Glasgow for a cinch Premiership clash with league leading Rangers, with Hearts heading to Govan on the crest of an impressive 12-game unbeaten run.


Whilst trips to Glasgow always provide a challenge, Naismith highlighted the importance of keeping the collected, winning, mindset that have been the hallmark of his Heart of Midlothian team this season.


“Every game recently has seen us deal with different aspects,” he told the media ahead of the game.  


“Tomorrow is more of the same. Rangers have got their own way of going about things and how they like to approach games. They can hurt you, especially with them being at home.


“For us, we need to keep doing the things that we’ve been doing right. I’d say it’s the first time in a while where there’s been a proper title challenge. That changes the dynamic for the Old Firm, but for us we need to look to replicate our earlier performance at Ibrox – but this time with a better result.”


Hearts have already bested one side of the Old Firm in Glasgow this campaign following December’s 2-0 triumph over Celtic at Parkhead.


The boss believes there’s been a marked shift in mindset for the men in maroon, with the boss outlining the key ingredients behind Hearts’ automaton-like consistency.  


“As a club and a squad, the progression is there,” explained Naismith. “We’ve had to deal with teams that have been willing to sit in. Tomorrow will be different but over the last few weeks, there’s been a shift in mindset.


“I’ve consistently said that when we have the ball, we need to make Rangers work. To get results against the Old Firm, when you have the ball, you need to keep it. You’ve got to be able to deal with their press or the pressure of the environment.


“We’ve managed to change things this year. Last season, we went close at 2-2 at Ibrox. We’ve beaten Celtic in Glasgow this year and gone close again at Ibrox. We’re getting closer and managing that in every game we play home and away.


“We’re in a much better place this time, on a good run of form, like every game – we go wanting to get the win. Every game we go into, we expect to try and get the win. If we go and give everything we’ve got, we give ourselves a good chance.”