Hearts update on Josh Ginnelly's injury as Steven Naismith makes Rangers statement after beating Aberdeen

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Interim Hearts manager admitted he was naive not to shake counterpart Barry Robson’s hand.

Interim Hearts manager Steven Naismith praised his team’s performance as they came from behind to beat Aberdeen 2-1 at Tynecastle Park. Naismith then apologised to the visiting manager Barry Robson for not shaking his hand at full-time.

Naismith was caught up in emotion at the end and was too busy celebrating instead of first attending to customary exchanges with opponents in the technical area. He admitted it was down to naivety in his fifth game in charge of Hearts, which saw goals from Josh Ginnelly and Lawrence Shankland overhaul Mattie Pollock’s early header.

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“That’s my bad. I’m naive in this situation in that the passion, the will to win overrides the thought process,” explained Naismith. “I have just apologised to him there. I know Barry will not be happy with me and he’ll have been raging after it, but that’s 100 per cent my fault. I’ve spoken to him and apologised because he’s someone I consider a friend.”

Asked if he enjoyed the celebrations, Naismith went into more detail. “Yes, because it’s a big game. Since the split all the games have been big. I think it’s my nature in general, I’m competitive, I want to win, I’ve consistently won throughout my career, and it’s a personal achievement thing.

“As a player, I used to think a manger would sit there and say: ‘Job done. He can’t really influence it, all the pressure is on the players.’ But when you’re here it flips and all the pressure is on you when really you need the guys to do the job for you. It’s definitely different to the roles I have been doing, but it’s one I am enjoying.”

The result reduced the gap between third-placed Aberdeen and fourth-placed Hearts to two points in the Premiership table. Both clubs are eager to finish third and secure guaranteed European group-stage football for next season – provided Celtic win the Scottish Cup.

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Aberdeen host St Mirren in midweek and travel to Celtic Park three days later, whilst Hearts are at Rangers on Wednesday before the Edinburgh derby against Hibs at Tynecastle. Naismith is confident his side can put in a performance at Ibrox after beating the Pittodrie side.

Hearts Josh Ginnelly goes off injured during the 2-1 win against Aberdeen.Hearts Josh Ginnelly goes off injured during the 2-1 win against Aberdeen.
Hearts Josh Ginnelly goes off injured during the 2-1 win against Aberdeen.

“We can go and compete for sure, I really believe that,” he stated. “Today gives me a lot of confidence in terms of how we were calm, controlled in our possession. Yes, we made the wrong choices in the final third at times sometimes, and out positions behind the ball weren’t perfect. But we can go and compete.”

Ginnelly trudged off with a suspected injury midway through the second half, but Naismith does not believe it is overly serious. “Everybody who came off did so for the reasons they had but nobody is saying they are injured. Everything short-term seems to be fine,” he said.

“Quite a few players are often carrying wee niggles in general at this stage of the season, but I bet you none of them want to miss out on the next week’s games of football.”