Interim Hearts boss Steven Naismith confirms Robert Snodgrass decision

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Interim Hearts boss Steven Naismith has confirmed that Robert Snodgrass is not part of his plans for the remainder of the season.

Talks between the club and the former Scotland international are progressing, with the early termination of his contract the likely outcome. Naismith has confirmed that he has spoken to told his former Scotland teammate to explain his decision.

“I had a conversation with Snoddy,” Naismith told Hearts TV. “I have a good relationship with Snoddy as a player and a teammate. The decision’s been made that he’s probably not going to get many minutes. I’ve experienced that myself as a player and we had a talk about it.

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“Snoddy’s family are still down south and the best outcome for everybody would be that he gets time to spend with his family and I focus on a group that’s going to go forward.”

The 35-year-old midfielder, whose contract expires at the end of the season, was sent off against St Mirren on Saturday. A 25-minute players-only meeting was held after the game to discuss “a couple of things that need to be addressed” and Robbie Neilson was sacked as manager the following day.

Snodgrass has played 25 times for Hearts this season, scoring one goal, after joining in the days immediately after the summer transfer window had closed. He had been released by English Championship side Luton Town.

Naismith is keen to move on and believes he has a strong squad to work with for the remaining seven games. “For me, this is the best Hearts team that I’ve been involved with,” he added. “A lot of the players know me personally from my time as a player, which helps me. They understand my character, what I do. I was a player that was demanding and straight to the point. It doesn’t mean I don’t like you, or that I’ve got something against you, I just want us to improve.

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“I want to maximise what we can do. The guys that know me within the squad have been very good at letting everybody else know that that’s the case. We’ve had two really good days of training. We’re working on the dos and don’ts to start with, and then we’ll progress from there. It’s a short period of time but hopefully at the end of it – we’ll see a bit of progress.”

Robert Snodgrass has played his last game for Hearts. Picture: Paul Devlin / SNSRobert Snodgrass has played his last game for Hearts. Picture: Paul Devlin / SNS
Robert Snodgrass has played his last game for Hearts. Picture: Paul Devlin / SNS

Naismith’s first game in charge will be the Edinburgh derby against Hibs at Easter Road. it is one he is looking forward to. “It’s a fantastic game to start with,” he added. “The response we’ve had from the squad has been really good. It’s been a long couple of days but there’s still a lot more work to go into this. The change around the training set-up, the preparations for the game, the enthusiasm to learn. They’ve shown a real willingness to work hard.

“The focus is first on the game on Saturday and then the six games after that. We need to get back to enjoying it, back to playing good football, and back to getting points on the board.”