First team

Naismith reflects on positive campaign

17 May 2024

Head coach Steven Naismith admits he’s excited for what’s still to come from his Hearts squad, as he reflects on a successful campaign.


The Jambos have achieved European football for the third season in a row and Naismith believes the youthful age of his squad, brings optimism for future seasons.


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


“It’s been a really good season for us as a group and for me individually. What we set out to do in the summer, we’ve achieved.


“If we look back and say, ‘where can we improve?’ The two semi-finals, we can improve on that. But the manner that we’ve came third, the amount of things that we’ve changed that have not changed in 10, 15 or 20 years at the club.


“Whether it be the run of games, the clean sheets or the away wins, that tells you everything you need to know.


“We’ve had a good season and what I’m probably most pleased about is the age of the squad is young. We’ve got loads of potential, which excites me for the coming years.”


Skipper Lawrence Shankland was awarded the Football Writers Player of the Year Award, to add to his growing collection and Naismith was full of praise for the Hearts number nine.


“It’s a brilliant achievement,” he said. “People have spoken all season about how well he’s done, but the actual magnitude of what he’s done won’t be realised until five, six years down the line, how good an achievement it is.


“For a player outside the Old Firm to pick up all the awards, to score 30 goals in a season, a season in which he didn’t actually start that great, which I think was going away on internationals and then wanting to be a part of the group from the start.


“Looking back, that probably didn’t give him the break he needed. But like in his whole career, he’s had to work really hard to achieve that. It’s credit to him for that, he’s getting all the plaudits he deserves, and he can finish off a brilliant campaign tomorrow with the knowledge of how well it’s went, but also with the drive to get in the Euros squad and to make an impact for Scotland at a major tournament, would cap off a fantastic season for him.”


Rangers are the visitors to Tynecastle Park on Saturday, the only side the Jambos are left to defeat in the league this season and the head coach believes it’s a good opportunity for the men in maroon to sign off on a high.


“It’s probably the last thing we can try to achieve. The games have been close. There’s been the one game that wasn’t close, but the games have been tight, and it’s been small details within the games that have cost us.


“Tomorrow is a good opportunity for us. Obviously, them losing out on the league, is going to be a real disappointment for them, but they’ve got a cup final to prepare for. We know it will be tough game, but we’ve performed really well at home this season. With how good the season has been, I expect the atmosphere to be really good and hopefully we can put on a performance to match.”


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