Steven Naismith aiming to clear Hearts 'hurdles' in ultimate Premiership objective search

Hearts head coach Steven NaismithHearts head coach Steven Naismith
Hearts head coach Steven Naismith
The Hearts head coach has been looking forward after racking up another Premiership win.

Steven Naismith insists European football of some sort is a nice achievement - but he wants the confirmed variety next.

A dramatic first half at Tynecastle on Saturday eventually ended with six goals and the Jambos emerging at full-time as 4-2 Premiership winners over Livingston. Stephen Kelly pounced on two defensive errors to give the Lions a two-goal lead before Hearts mounted a quickfire comeback.

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Jorge Grant and Yutaro Oda both netted off the back of Lawrence Shankland crosses into the box and Cammy Devlin put them ahead before the interval. There's an 11-point gap on Kilmarnock in fourth but with fifth-placed St Mirren now 19 points off with five games to go in the post-split fixtures, the lowest Hearts are finishing this season is fourth.

The next league to task is to make sure they end up in third spot with either a Europa League or Europa Conference League group stage place. Third becomes a guaranteed group stage place next weekend if Aberdeen lose to Celtic in the Scottish Cup semi-final, now the Dons’ bottom six spot is confirmed. Hearts face Rangers in the other semi-final for a place in the showpiece final.

Naismith is pleased to be looking ahead to continental football, but insisted: "It’s pleasing but our aim is confirmed European football, and there are still some hurdles to get over. We are pleased because we won the game, got the points and it cuts out another game in our bid for third.

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“We are in a good position for that and we have got to drive for that. The win also gives us a good couple of games going into the semi-final."

Meanwhile, the head coach also confirmed to Sportsound pre-match against Livingston that Craig Gordon would start as goalkeeper versus Rangers. He said: "Zander [Clark] has trained all week. But we've got the semi-final coming up next week and Craig [Gordon] will play. So we feel it's beneficial for Craig to get a couple of games in."

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