Hearts captain Steven Naismith savages Scottish football self interest and SPFL debacle
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Hearts captain Steven Naismith has branded Scottish football a “laughing stock” following the fallout from the termination of the 2019/20 SPFL season.
The Scotland international is set to drop down and play in the Scottish Championship for the first time in his career.
Naismith has been far from impressed with what he has witnessed since March, from the SPFL's resolution and the Dundee vote controversy to failed league reconstruction and a legal challenge.
Hearts and Partick Thistle’s case against relegation set to begin in an independent tribunal as part of the Scottish FA’s arbitration process next week.
The 33-year-old has compared the situation to a “comedy strip” when trying to explain it to people involved in English football, and how it is a “laughing stock down there” .
“It’s been the darkest time since I’ve taken an interest in football," he told the Scottish Sun. “It’s shown up a lot of bad practice.
“The whole thing is ludicrous and a scandal. The mentality of a lot of clubs in Scotland is self-interest. For the last ten years Scottish football has been getting lower and lower in quality.”
He added: "It’s embarrassing and the way things are set up is ridiculous. You’ve got a structure that doesn’t work."
Naismith, who feels there are too many professional clubs in the country, has called on Scottish football to step out of the shadow of England and make changes which set the game on its own path.
"We’re never going to be the same as the English leagues and have the same backing, so stop trying to compare,” he said.
“We need to build something that’s different, generates good quality young players coming through academies, which will give players’ better income and is competitive year on year.
“It was such a good chance to try and build some foundations to project Scottish football in a new light but it was a missed chance again."
The player has little faith significant changes will be made, noting “there are too many people who love where they sit and have this ego of where they are”.
Even more so with relationships between clubs at an all-time low.
“It’s ironic you’ve got clubs saying they need to try to come together to pay for these legal fees," Naismith said.
"A month ago they voted to punish other teams for a competition that wasn’t even finished. Now it’s got so messy and gone to legal arbitration processes which has left club relationships up in smoke.
“Everyone is pointing the finger at each other."