Club news

Naismith previews Morton challenge

08 March 2024

Head coach Steven Naismith believes Monday’s Scottish Cup quarter-final at Cappielow has a ‘proper cup tie’ feel to it.


The Jambos travel to Greenock for the match in front of the BBC cameras hoping to secure a Hampden return, but they will face a tough test against the Ton.


Morton are enjoying a good season themselves, sitting 4th in the Scottish Championship and having knocked Motherwell out in the last round of the competition, they will be confident of troubling the men in maroon.


Having overcome Airdrieonians in a potentially tricky tie in the previous round, Naismith admits the game is about Hearts entering the game in the right frame of mind, before managing the game and showing their quality.


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


“When you are playing against a team in the lower leagues, the dynamics of the games are always similar in the respect that we have the pressure on us. It is another away tie. The challenges within the game will be slightly different to what we faced against Airdrie.


“Dougie has done a really good job at Morton. His players are up for games, they have a togetherness, they fight for the manager, and they have got their strengths.


“It will be a proper cup tie. We will need to go into the game with the right frame of mind and then it’s about us managing the game, the way we want to manage it. That is what has brought us success in the previous cup games, so it will be more of the same.


“We are in the right frame of mind," Naismith added. "We understand what we are going to. A lot of the squad have played at Morton during the Championship season, so the biggest thing for us getting that understanding to firstly, go and compete in the game and secondly put our quality on show.


“There’s no big change. The demand is for us to get the later rounds of the cups. Whether that is at Hampden or just getting to the next round, that is there. We want to be a successful team.


“I think the team has made really good strides and we’ve progressed in loads of ways, but the best way for us to show that is by getting silverware.


“For a player, that is the best memory you will have as a player. You can get to the end of a career and make loads of money by playing at a high level, but the memories that stay with you are from being successful and winning trophies. Without a doubt and that is what we strive to get to.”


Naismith provided mixed news on the injury front, as Kenneth Vargas and Barrie McKay have rejoined training, but the Jambos will remain without Yutaro Oda, Frankie Kent and Calem Nieuwenhof for Monday’s tie.


“Kenneth is back in training. Barrie McKay is back in training, he is still a few weeks away, but he is in a really good place. Yutaro has a small issue, so he will be out for this weekend.


“The squad is fine, some have dropped out, with others coming back in at the right time which has helped. We still have a healthy squad and we’re in a good place.”


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