Steven Naismith explains Hearts B team's improvement and next goal after tough start to Lowland League
It has been a tough start to life in the Lowland League for the Hearts B team, but manager Steven Naismith has taken massive encouragement from his team’s latest performance.
First-team call-ups meant a number of younger players were drafted in for Sunday’s 1-1 draw against Celtic B at Ferguson Park, but Hearts played with the type of control and discipline that has perhaps been lacking in previous matches.
Naismith puts that down to the time he has been afforded to work with his players on the training ground after a hectic start to the campaign. Maintaining that level and showing consistency is his focus this week as he prepares for Friday night’s trip to East Stirlingshire.
He explained: “After a really intense period where it’s game after game we have got a wee bit more time to work on things and go over this performance and improve other aspects of the game, so we need to use this now to try and build a level of consistency, because the only thing that is going to get these players into the first team is consistency.”
Hearts B are 13th in the 19-team league and haven’t won since their opening-day demolition of Berwick Rangers. The three defeats and three draws since then, with games coming thick and fast, have been a huge learning curve. But Naismith saw a big improvement against Celtic B.
He explained: “It was a really good performance. I think it’s up there with one of our best ones. Our discipline out of possession and the structure of the team we did a lot of work on during the week.
“It was the first week we’ve been able to have a few training days leading up to a game and I think you could see that.
“It takes a lot for these younger players who think that a good attitude is chasing the ball down and running here and there, but the higher you go the more tactical and technical it gets.
“That was the most pleasing aspect of it. We had so many players who’s positions tweaked slightly, but they all grasped it well and then we’ve got five or six under 18’s playing. That is so valuable for these guys to play 80 or 90 minutes in a game like this.”