First team

Naismith: We showed intent

16 September 2023

Hearts head coach Steven Naismith has heaped praise on his Hearts players for being brave in possession and solid at the back as Hearts ran out 2-0 winners against Aberdeen at Tynecastle Park on Saturday.


Both sides came into the match desperate for the three points but it was the men in maroon who emerged victorious thanks to goals from Yutaro Oda and Liam Boyce.


Speaking to Hearts TV at full-time, Naismith said: “It was pleasing. Really pleasing.


“I consistently say that we need to give the fans something to shout about, and I thought we showed that at the start of the game with our intent which was really good.


“We played the passes that we needed to and cause them more problems than they caused us, and we did that.


“The start of the game was always going to be a wee bit frantic, like every game in Scotland normally is, so we had to deal with that fight first of all. I questioned if the players had that moment to take a touch and when the ball is bouncing about, someone has to take a touch and find a pass and I thought we done that really well early on in the game which leads to the chances we create and the opening goal.


“It was a competitive game, but throughout the game, we managed it really well. We played brave passes that we need to play and that’s the most pleasing thing, the other one being that it was a collective effort with the subs that came on doing really really well.


“They haven’t had a lot of minutes, so that can be tough to continue to work hard and wait for your opportunities and I think they have shown that today.”


As well as the goals, it was a confidence-boosting clean sheet for the Jambos up the other end and Naismith was delighted with the way his side defended, singling out Kye Rowles for praise.


“The clean sheet is a massive part of it. In the previous league games, we have given up cheap goals. That was a big thing that we had to try and change from last season.


“Kye Rowles has had some tough moments in the last month, but he was exceptional today. I asked the question of him and said he needs to get more physical and be up for that fight.


“He has lots of quality, but these small moments when his performance could be really good, but he he gets a bump, or gives up a cheap goal everybody remembers that.


“So, he needs to deal with that and understand that he has to be very physical and strong in those moments and I thought today he was. I thought he was exceptional."


The Jambos travel to Paisley next weekend and Naismith, while acknowledging the difficulty of the fixture, insists that the challenge now has to be to produce high-level performances away from Tynecastle.


“Last season’s game there was really tough. We managed to grind out a point in a performance that wasn’t great. St Mirren are a very well organised and coached team, so we are under no illusions that it will be a very tough game, but we go into it believing in the things that we want to do, and we need to go there and cause them more problems than they do.”