Steven Naismith pushing to return from injury in time for Hearts v Rangers

Steven Naismith hopes to return from injury when Hearts face Rangers after the international break.

By Barry Anderson
Thursday, 3rd October 2019, 10:32 am
Updated Thursday, 3rd October 2019, 11:34 am
Steven Naismith is close to returning from injury for Hearts
Steven Naismith is close to returning from injury for Hearts

However, the Scotland forward admitted that the current injury crisis at Riccarton is the worst he has ever encountered.

Naismith has not played since August because of a hamstring complaint and is one of ten Hearts players recovering from injuries right now.

The others are Craig Halkett, Loic Damour, John Souttar, Peter Haring, Jamie Walker, Conor Washington, Ben Garuccio, Craig Wighton and Euan Henderson.

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He is pushing to be back in maroon when former club Rangers visit Tynecastle Park on October 20.

"I've never been involved in an injury crisis like this, it is incredible," Naismith told BBC Sportsound. "You've arguably got five players who would start every week who are out.

"Then the individual mistakes have been crazy. Six or seven of the goals we've lost have been from unforced errors. The players have seen on the training pitch what the manager is trying to do and what he expects from us.

"It's shown in the Aberdeen and Hibs games the level we need to get to. At the weekend [the 0-0 draw at St Mirren], the boys maybe ran out of steam in a tough week.

"But that's the minimum now. We play Kilmarnock and then after break, we need to push on and start picking up results. Where we are sitting now is far from ideal."

On his injury, he said: "We set up a plan, followed it well and every box has been ticked."

Having signed a four-year contract with Hearts during the summer, the 33-year-old has had to watch much of this season's action whilst sidelined.

A disappointing league start saw supporters rally against Craig Levein but owner Ann Budge released a statement backing her manager. Naismith stressed the players are fully behind Levein.

"It wasn't nice. It hasn't been a great start to the season. The statement didn't make a lot of difference, to be honest. I've been in dressing rooms when it's not been great and managers have lost their jobs.

"It can suit some boys for the manager to go because they get another chance. There was none of that; the players were all behind the manager."