First team

Naismith targets extended run

06 February 2024

Steven Naismith says tomorrow’s trip to St. Johnstone is a perfect platform for Hearts to maintain their winning run.  


The men in maroon are on a blistering streak of nine games without defeat, with another precious three points secured against Dundee in a 3-2 win at Dens Park last weekend.


Hearts have proven to be comeback kings in recent weeks, converting wins from two losing positions to the Dee both home and away. Whilst proud of the squad’s mental character, Naismith knows even better is to come from the Jambos.


“Tomorrow will be the way it has been all season,” he told the media ahead of the game. “Each game, we see what players we need and use who we think will be most effective. It’s the way we’ve worked since the summer, and it won’t change.


“We had a bit of illness prior to the Dundee game but that seems to have cleared up. We’re looking quite healthy. We’re in a good place.


“Our performance at the weekend was very good. The manner in which we lost the goals was frustrating but I actually thought we started the game well and created a few chances. As I’ve said before in times where we went behind, we showed a lot of resilience.


“We understand how to adapt when things aren’t going our way. We always stick to what we believe in and we’re getting our rewards from that.”


There was good news at Oriam today as Alan Forrest was crowned as the cinch Premiership’s Player of the Month for January.


Naismith was delighted for Forrest, and says it’s just rewards for a player who’s worked hard to cement his place within the squad.


“The award’s great for Alan and well deserved too,” he added. “He’s someone who came to the club as a squad player – albeit an experienced one. Alan’s worked really hard throughout his career to get to each stage.


“We saw that at Ayr United and Livingston and his qualities and abilities are very good. He’s a valued member of our squad and we’re all delighted for him. I think most of our players have improved but it’s about having that drive to get better and better.”


Hearts head to McDiarmid Park tomorrow night for the second time this season, having defeated the Perth Saints 2-0 on opening day back in August.


Much has changed in the Fair City since then, with former Hearts boss Craig Levein in the dugout. Naismith anticipates another good test in Perth, praising the work Levein has done since taking over.


“I think Craig’s done a really good job at Saints,” he said.


“From where they were when he took over to now, they’re in a good place. It was always going to be difficult, but the main thing is picking points up and getting yourself away from the bottom of the table.


“They’ve done that and done a bit of business in January as well which is going to help them. We’ve done a lot of work this season to get away from past records at away grounds. We prepare for every game the same way.


“At the end of the day, it’s eleven against eleven. Everything else is just noise. We’re clear minded and tomorrow is a good opportunity for us. We have the chance to get more points and continue our run.”