First team

Naismith: We were up for the fight

02 January 2024

Steven Naismith has praised the fight of his Hearts players as they rolled up their sleeves in tough conditions at the Tony Macaroni Arena to pick up all three points.


It wasn’t a classic in the first half, however, the men in maroon took control in the second period and thanks to strikes from Kenneth Vargas and Lawrence Shankland, bagged their seventh away league win of the season.


Speaking to Hearts TV at full-time, head coach Naismith said:


“It was a big win. We knew it was going to be a tough game. The pitch makes it a game that you can’t really play conducive football on it, it’s hard to move the ball around.


“So, we knew it was going to be a fight. In the first half, I thought they got the better of the fight, but at half-time we spoke about that. In these games, the ball through the pitch is the one that is going to win you the game.


“We spoke again at half-time about the timing of the runs, where our forwards were going to be positioned to make those runs and within 10 or 15 minutes of the second half, we score a really good goal from what we spoke about.


“It could’ve been more comfortable. We were comfortable until they reacted and started putting more bodies forward. We knew we were going to have that period where we had to do that, and we done it well.


“Towards the end of the game, our game management was as good as it was against Motherwell and that is a big part of it and that’s a good run of form going into the break.


“Kenneth has lots of really good attributes. He’s really young and he played a lot at the start, and we maybe missed that he is such a young kid, but his main attributes are really good.


“He scored against Ross County when he comes on and he scores again today so I am really pleased for him and hopefully, that gives him loads of confidence to kick on now in the second half of the season.


Finally, Naismith was full of praise for the 5,000 travelling Jambos who made the trip to West Lothian to cheer on the team.


“It was like a mini home game for us with all the fans. It was brilliant to see. We need to continue putting on performances like we have, to get the backing of the fans, and hopefully we can enjoy a successful season and all the staff, players, fans, everyone at the club will have played a part in that.”