Steven Naismith provided a comprehensive update on the football department in the first of his new regular updates on Hearts TV.
Our Technical Director touched on transfers, Rosenborg and his thoughts on the coming week in a near ten-minute interview. Read on to find out what he said…
ON ST. JOHNSTONE WIN…
"It's good, the last month or so has been intense. There's so much information you have to get into individuals and the collective group. And, of course, as players arrive - that changes the dynamic of the group as well. You get to the end point which is that first game of the season.
"I was really pleased in Perth. Especially the second-half where we tried to play with speed. When we do that, we're a good team. The first win was away from home, with a clean sheet, so there's loads of positives to take.
ON NEW SIGNINGS…
"With any new players, you have to look at the character and what they'll bring to the group. Ability wise, you want to see what they do in and out of possession. Even when I was playing, I knew the difference between what a good signing brings and what a bad signing doesn’t.
"We've recruited players who have added value. The players that have come in are keen to impress and I felt everyone did that on Saturday. Frankie Kent did really well at the back which gave us the foundation. Short-term or long-term, any signing will look to add value. The squad is looking really good, and it's a united group, which is always a bonus.
"Kenneth is one we watched, and we had contacts who were able to fill us in on him. We found out where he was in his career, what he'd be looking to get out of coming here, and where he wants to go as a player. I had a chat with him to see what he things his best attributes are and what he can improve on.
"He's an exciting player and one that will get people off their feet. We'll give him the minutes that will help him adapt and get used to Scottish football. The same goes for Calem - he's a young player and it'll take time. The reason we signed him was because he was one of, if not the best players in the Australian league.
"Over the next few years, he's someone who will do really well for us. Alex Lowry is one who will probably be the most comfortable coming in given his previous involvement in Scottish football. There's a lot of pressure on him as a younger player but he's shown a real willingness to learn as a player and show what he can do as a player.
"For him this season, he's got to push on and try and get in the national team. He needs to be involved in goals and exciting passages of play as much as possible. All these players have individual targets because they're all different.”
ON POTENTIAL OUTGOINGS…
"There's likely to be a few boys going out on loan. We've got a structure with the B Team but there's still a gap with young players who are a fraction too old. We believe in them and that they have a future here, but we can't guarantee minutes. At that age, they need game time. We'll keep an eye on them and stay in contact.
"In terms of Lewis, he's someone who had a really good pre-season. When it comes down to minutes, we can't waste that good work we've done so now he needs to play. We'll watch him and evaluate where we're at when we get to Christmas. Harry Stone is another one who'll go out on loan.
"Again, that's just for minutes, he's got a big future. The same goes for Connor Smith. The three of them will hopefully go out on loan with the sole purpose of playing games. In terms of other outgoings, we'll have a look. We only want players who want to be here. Some will contribute in the minutes they get and compliment the group, but understand that they have a part to play. Others will contribute by what they add off the pitch. Ultimately, we don’t want players here who aren't contributing in any way.”
ON ROSENBORG TIE…
"We believe that we can go through, like in any game. I've said it since last season, but we need to have a threat in every game we play in and that's something I firmly believe in.
We need to have that threat and also defend well. Ultimately, you need to defend well to have any chance of going through. We need to cause team's problems and I believe we can do it in this round and if we get through to the next - I know we'll be able to do it in the play-off round too.
"It's exciting and I know it'll be a real achievement if we can do it. Right now though, we need to focus on Rosenborg. The schedule is busy and you need to deal with the league and the European games so we'll need to use the squad to the maximum."
You can watch Steven's interview in full on Hearts TV HERE