Steve Clarke explains why Hearts' Steven Naismith is in Scotland squad

Experienced forward recalled to national team despite lack of game-time

Tuesday, 5th November 2019, 5:25 pm
Updated Tuesday, 5th November 2019, 5:26 pm
Steve Clarke has put in faith in Hearts forward Steven Naismith. Pic: SNS
Steve Clarke has put in faith in Hearts forward Steven Naismith. Pic: SNS

Scotland manager Steve Clarke believes Hearts striker Steven Naismith is ready to contribute to the national team despite playing only 30 minutes in the past three months.

The experienced forward was recalled to the squad for the final two European Championship qualifiers against Cyprus and Kazakhstan this month.

Currently on 49 caps, Naismith is only just back from a hamstring injury that sidelined him from August until last weekend. The 33-year-old came on a substitute on the hour-mark during Sunday’s 3-0 defeat for Hearts by Rangers and Clarke reckons the ex-Norwich and Everton player can contribute.

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“He hasn’t had much game time but he’s a good professional, Steven,” said Clarke, who is looking to finish third to boost confidence ahead of the March play-offs.

“I had a good conversation with him on Monday. He assures me his fitness is good, he has been working hard on it.

“He obviously got some minutes on the pitch in the semi-final at the weekend and he expects to start their next game. So hopefully he can add something to the squad.”