Hearts: Steven Naismith speaks on Aaron Hickey move to Bologna and defender's decision to leave Celtic

Aaron Hickey (left) and Steven Naismith during a Hearts training session at the OriamAaron Hickey (left) and Steven Naismith during a Hearts training session at the Oriam
Aaron Hickey (left) and Steven Naismith during a Hearts training session at the Oriam
Hearts and Scotland forward hails former Tynecastle team-mate

Steven Naismith has praised former Hearts team-mate Aaron Hickey for the way he handled transfer interest and his subsequent move to Bologna.

The teenager was linked with a number of clubs including German giants Bayern Munich before making the decision to join the Serie A side.

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Speaking on BBC Radio Scotland's Sportsound programme, the Hearts and Scotland forward revealed he had spoken to Hickey about a potential move.

Naismith said: "I spoke to him about it a couple of times but I was conscious of putting too much of my influence on it.

"When we came back [to training] I told him, 'you need to get fit. Just get your head down and get fit. The move will happen if it's going to happen and you need to decide what's right for you'."

Hickey was handed his debut earlier this week and played the bulk of Bologna's 4-1 win over Parma.

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Naismith continued: "I don't think he could have picked a better league. I watched the game and it suited him right down to the ground.

"I played with Mitchell Dijks [Bologna’s first-choice left-back] at Norwich, and the two of them are very different as full-backs.

"Mitchell is very big; strong, powerful. Hickey's much more technical. He loves to play. So the move suits him.”

Touching on his own experiences as a young player, Naismith said: “When I was younger I went to Arsenal and from the moment I went down there to train I knew I would never sign.

"I wasn't ready to move away from home.

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"So I told Aaron, 'if you don't feel you're ready to move then it's not the right move for you'.

"He did the right thing; he took his time, made sure he made the right choice and his first game showed that.

"He left Celtic as a youth player to come back to Hearts because he thought he'd never get a first-team opportunity.

"That tells you all you need to know as a starting point. He came back to Hearts, worked hard, and then he got his chance.

"He's taken his time and he's made the decision that he thinks is right."

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