First team

Naismith previews Kilmarnock trip

26 April 2024

Steven Naismith believes Saturday’s match at Rugby Park will be an exciting game, between two sides full of confidence, with both having enjoyed successful campaigns.


It’s third against fourth this weekend as the men in maroon travel to Ayrshire, knowing that three points will be enough to secure third spot and a Europa League playoff match at the beginning of next season.


This will be the fifth meeting between the sides this season, the Jambos have come out on top on their two trips to Rugby Park, both by a one-goal margin, meanwhile Killie have picked up two draws at Tynecastle.


Speaking to the media at the pre-match press conference, Naismith said:


“The feeling around the game is probably slightly different, as both teams are comfortable in their places in the league. So not much is going to change on the back of whatever the result is at the weekend.


“But what we can sign off with is brilliant. It has been our aim since the start of the season, it’s a big opportunity for us to do that, that being said, we know it will be a really tough game.


“Kilmarnock’s record at home has been really good. But what we can take confidence from is our performances there this season have been really good.


“We will need to defend well, that’s a given. The pitch will play a part, as it always does, but it’s two teams playing with lots of confidence, who have had good seasons, so it’s an exciting game.”


With five games still to play, the Jambos may well have little to play for if they do secure third place come 5pm on Saturday, however Naismith insists there is still a drive within the club to keep improving, as he targets a high points finish in the table.


“The drive within us will always be to get better. So, if we confirm third, we don’t just change everything we’re doing. It may give you a bit more scope to see where boys’ injuries are and see who’s trying to push through.


“But what it does do is brings about a real enjoyment for the last month of the season. I’ve been involved in football a long time, you don’t often get that period of time where it’s a really relaxed environment, that’s maybe the only thing that will change.


“There is still a drive here though, I’ve said before, we’ve got a good opportunity to get more than 70 points and I think it’s realistic to push on and try to do that.”


You can watch Steven’s press conference in full on Hearts TV.