Gary Mackay: Never mind job titles, Steven Naismith gets Hearts and his passion will transmit to the players

Decision made brings important continuity.
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As long as Hearts set-up remains as it was, with Steven Naismith in charge of the team and support coming from Frankie McAvoy and Gordon Forrest, then I’m happy. People who are against Steven getting the managerial gig, or who aren’t comfortable because they feel Hearts should be investing this or that, surely there is a different and more positive approach to take?

We have someone who gave everything as a player during his full career, and gave everything as a player with Hearts, and is now giving everything he can as a manager. We have seen that with the upturn in performances in a very small timeframe. I’ve seen some people on social media questioning why this decision has been taken. Well, Steven has been there, seen it, done it and got the t-shirt in football. If he can show the commitment and desire he showed as a player, and transmit that to our team, then Hearts will be in a great place with him in charge.

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Promoting from within is something Hearts spoke of when Craig Levein was director of football. The difference at that time was that Craig employed what you would maybe call ‘yes men’ behind him who he wanted to have those opportunities. One thing I would say about Steven Naismith is that I don’t think he will ever be a ‘yes man’ to anybody.

You pick up respect in the game and you pick up an understanding of individuals, even at my age. Steven will be a good manager because of his ambition to be the best at everything he does and that’s good enough for me.

The titles given to the management team don’t really bother me and I don’t think it bothers a lot of people. Look at some of the guys I worked with. I don’t think Alex MacDonald needed a European licence. He won the Cup Winners’ Cup as a Rangers players and there are other examples in years gone by.

I’m sure Steven will work towards these qualifications over time but the Steven Naismith I see right now, I’m happy with. If his career continues to evolve and develop positively then hopefully all Hearts supporters will be happy with him. His passion and desire to make sure the players give their all and leave nothing out on the pitch is infectious.

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He is continually communicating with people on the touchline and he seems keen to bring some of the younger players through in time. He has already got Yutaro Oda – not a young player but a younger member of the squad – playing some exciting stuff. We hadn’t seen much of him beforehand and he was a real positive in the last few weeks of the season.

Steven Naismith will be in charge of the Hearts first team next season.Steven Naismith will be in charge of the Hearts first team next season.
Steven Naismith will be in charge of the Hearts first team next season.

Ultimately, I think Steven gets Hearts. He gets what Heart of Midlothian Football Club is about. He has represented a lot of big clubs and he also knows how demanding the Hearts supporters are. We have seen that given the intensity and desire the game is played with at Tynecastle. The Hibs game where we held on with 10 men is just one example.

Frankie McAvoy and Gordon Forrest are certainly a huge help, but Steven Naismith is the man who fronts it all.

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