Hearts coach Steven Naismith has 'manager' credentials, says man who brought him to Tynecastle
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Paisley boss Jim Goodwin moved to Aberdeen on Saturday and names in the frame to replace him at the Buddies include Scott Brown and Naismith.
Hearts are said to have permitted early talks to take place with their under-18s coach one of the candidates shortlisted for interview and the manager who took Naismith to Tynecastle has backed his credentials as a manager – be that in Renfrewshire or elsewhere.
"We brought him to Hearts with that in mind,” admitted Craig Levein. “We spoke to him about becoming a coach and then a manager if everything went well.”
Kilmarnock were also thought to have considered the former Rangers, Norwich and Everton forward who picked up 51 Scotland caps – and 15 under Levein.
“Everyone would acknowledge he is a leader on the field as a player and was a guy who could change matches,” Levein added on BBC Sportsound.
“He’s a clever guy, he’s really dedicated to his work and serious about coaching and I always recognised he would be a manager at one point.
"I’m not surprised [by the interest], he’s a likeable guy well-respected by his team-mates at Hearts.
“It’s whether he takes this job or another job.”
Asked if he thought Naismith would be ready for management now, from his role as Tynecastle under-18s coach he added: “That can only be answered by him taking a job but I’d say yes.
“He has got the credentials to become a really good manager.”