First team

Naismith relishing busy week

22 September 2023

Hearts head coach Steven Naismith is hoping his Hearts players can call on the experience of last season’s 2-2 draw in Paisley ahead of Saturday’s return to the SMiSA Stadium.


In a dramatic post-split fixture, the Jambos found themselves two goals down against the Buddies before battling back to rescue a last-minute point courtesy of a Lawrence Shankland spot-kick and the Hearts boss believes his players are now well-equipped to deal with the threats St Mirren pose.


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


“We’re coming up against a team that is really good and have started the season really well. They are unbeaten and have come up against various different teams, playing different ways, so they are well-equipped.


"If ever there was a game to show us what the game is going to be like, it’s our game there at the end of last season. We got out with a draw, but we did a lot of things wrong, and we were punished for it. So, this game is vitally important for us but we need to be starting the game better than we did the last time we were there.


“Training this week has been good, but I’d say that been quite consistent since I came in towards the end of last season. Everybody feels better after a good result and on top of that, I thought we had some really good parts in the game.”


St Mirren currently sit second in the cinch Premiership and Naismith was full of praise for the job Stephen Robinson has done at the Buddies.


“I think the way the manager has put his stamp on the team is a big factor. I have watched a lot of them this season and every player involved in their squad understands their role. The manager has real experience in Scotland, and I think that shows.


“We are under no illusions of where their strengths are, and we need to make sure we combat that.”


Saturday is the first of three away matches for the Jambos in the next seven days and although Naismith acknowledges the challenges all three matches will possess, he believes Hearts can be in a good place come the end of the week.


“Each game in this league is different and they are all tough in their own way. Firstly, we need to concentrate on the game tomorrow.


“The midweek game is a bit of a change of mindset as it is a cup game, and the reward is slightly different and then we have another tough game at Ross County at the end of the week, but it’s a good week of fixtures where at the end of it, we could look back and be in a really good place.”