The Herald - Herald Sport

Naismith has given it best shot, says keeper

- David Irvine

the keeper admitted the commemorat­ive friendly between Scotland and England in September has crossed his mind as an internatio­nal comeback - with a spot in the Scotland squad in Germany for Euro 2024, should they qualify, a major goal.

“I’ll get back as soon as I can,” he said when asked whether there are games he is targeting for a return.

STEVEN NAISMITH has had plenty to contend with during brief interim spell as Hearts manager.

In seven matches in charge at Tynecastle after Robbie Neilson’s dismissal, Naismith has earned two wins, three draws and two losses.

It’s a fairly average points return until all the factors are considered with five matches in the split, a wrong red card against Peter

Haring, Alex Cochrane sent off against Hibs and Celtic and the minor matter of a brawl after the final match of the season.

It has been quite the introducti­on, but Gordon reckons former teammate Naismith has acquitted himself as well as he could have done.

“He’s done very well,” said Gordon. “There isn’t a great deal more he could have done.

“There is a lot that went against us in that time, in terms of red cards and things that have been sent to try him and he has managed to come out the other side so personally I think he can be very happy with how he has handled the seven games.”

The weekend’s draw with Hibs is the most recent incident to face Naismith with tensions boiling over at full-time as Hearts secured fourth spot in the league. Naismith and Hibs boss Lee Johnson clashed at full-time with players, coaches and back-room staff quickly involved in the on-pitch rammy.

“I don’t know what was going on,” said Gordon of the wild full-time scenes. “I think everybody was trying to hold everybody else back. I don’t think there was actually anything happening. I didn’t see anything.

“There were so many people in one place but nothing actually happened. It got blown up a little

more than what it was. “Everything was fine. There were no real problems and the players were fine coming off the pitch and going up the tunnel.

“It was a case of high tension in a very important game but nothing really going on.”

And on the hot water bottle launched in Johnson’s direction from the home dugout, Gordon added: “I never saw that one. [I had] No idea what was going on.

“It was a crazy match. Not a great deal of football was played and it was 100mph in a game with a lot at stake.

“It was the difference between fourth and fifth, and it wasn’t just the bragging rights, but in terms of Europe and players’ bonuses in relation to the finishing position.

“So, yeah, there was a lot on the game. It was always going to be a feisty one, with everyone giving

100 percent.”

Gordon has been in the unique position of watching Naismith’s trial run as Hearts boss from the sidelines through injury, however, the club captain is confident the Tynecastle squad would welcome the caretaker role being made permanent.

“It is possible,” he said when quizzed on whether Naismith could be the man to lead Hearts to where the club strives to be.

“He showed a lot in the seven games that if he does get the opportunit­y I think everyone will be working really hard in pre-season to continue the developmen­t Naisy has already put in.

“As far as the players are concerned I’m sure they would like that and to try and improve on where they were.”

 ?? ?? Steven Naismith celebrates his Edinburgh derby win on Saturday
Steven Naismith celebrates his Edinburgh derby win on Saturday

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