‘It is inevitable’ - Steven Naismith has his say on Hearts deal
Steven Naismith has said that it is “inevitable” that he will sign a permanent deal with Hearts when he becomes a free agent in the summer.
The on-loan Norwich City forward is now in his second spell at Tynecastle, and has scored 16 goals in maroon this season despite being sidelined by injury for more than three months of the season.
Speaking at last night’s Player of the Year awards, where the 32-year-old was voted the Fans’ and Players’ Player of the Year, Naismith said: “Nothing is signed yet - but it is inevitable I will stay.”
The Capital club have already tied up Austrian midfielder Peter Haring and former Cambridge United striker Uche Ikpeazu, who both joined last summer, on new deals until summer 2022.
Hearts boss Craig Levein has been keen to sign the Scotland forward on a permanent deal for some time, and said last month he was making progress on a new deal for Naismith.
However, former Rangers and Everton striker Naismith is almost certainly out of the Scottish Cup final with Celtic on May 25.
Levein told the Evening News last week that the talismanic figure, who has been out since February with a knee injury, was unlikely to win his fitness race in time for the showpiece final.
He said: “I don’t think Steven will be ready for the final. He isn’t back in full training yet. He isn’t even back doing running yet. He is coming on well and he is improving, but I don’t see him being ready, unfortunately.”
Elsewhere at last night’s end-of-season awards, John Souttar won the Young Player of the Year award while Aaron Hickey picked up the Youth to Pro Award.
Alex Petkov scooped the Reserve Player of the Year prize while Olly Lee’s Edinburgh derby winner against Hibs at Easter Road in December was named Goal of the Season.
The same game was voted the Most Memorable Moment of the Season as well, while reserve team manager Andy Kirk received the Special Recognition Award.