Pundit gives ultimate Hearts nod to Steven Naismith as Jambos hero shares what impressed him at Kilmarnock

Hearts head coach Steven Naismith with Kilmarnock manager Derek McInnes.Hearts head coach Steven Naismith with Kilmarnock manager Derek McInnes.
Hearts head coach Steven Naismith with Kilmarnock manager Derek McInnes. | SNS Group
The Hearts boss has been given a nod as the club closes in on third place.

Steven Naismith deserves a nod for Manager of the Year after his work at Hearts this season, according to one pundit.

The Jambos head coach has come through a tough start to life in the dugout to lead his team towards third spot. After a 0-0 draw with fourth-placed Kilmarnock on Saturday, that position can be sealed with a win away to Celtic at the weekend, or if Killie lost against Rangers this Sunday.

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It will seal a return to European football beyond Halloween in the revamped Europa League or Europa Conference League next season. Hearts had their chances to win the game at Rugby Park on Saturday - with Cammy Devlin cracking the bar. Tynecastle hero Neil McCann insists the defensive solidity shown by the away side was something for Naismith to take pride in.

McCann told Sportscene: “Playing against Kilmarnock, the thing you are guaranteed is you are going to have to deal with crosses. They played a five so when the right-back or left-back went out, the others tucked in because they know Kilmarnock are going to flood.

“They have two strikers bang in form. They defended, they slid across so well. Defended brilliantly. Steven’s right to be happy because when they got a hold of the ball, then they expanded, tried to play and create opportunities for themselves.

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“This was most impressive as against Kilmarnock they are so dangerous. Not only in open play with Danny Armstrong, Matty Kennedy, but they have centre-backs who are powerful and attack the ball well. You need to be on it and be prepared to put your body on the line, and I thought they were really good.”

Former Hearts striker Lee Miller believes it was a meeting of minds between Naismith and Kilmarnock boss Derek McInnes, two men he believes will be in the awards shake-up.

He added: “Two really good managers who will probably be up for Manager of the Year, in my opinion. Done tremendous jobs.”

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