What Steven Naismith has said about Hearts fans ahead of Aberdeen
Steven Naismith opens up about the team’s fatigue ahead of Aberdeen
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Hearts have played nine fixtures altogether since their season opened up at the beginning of August, including four European clashes and one Scottish League Cup round.
They have, however, suffered two domestic losses and two European Conference qualifying losses and Steven Naismith is under no illusions that this record has to change quickly if his team are to reach the battle for Europe once again for the 2024/25 season.
The Tynecastle side will welcome Aberdeen this weekend in what has been dubbed a must-win game for both sides and comes after an international break with Naismith confirming it couldn’t have come at a better time for the rebuilding of the squad:
“The break came at a good time. It didn’t come at a good time for results but for what we needed. And when you look back at first block of the season we’ve had some good performances but, especially with Europe, we’ve struggled to deal with fatigue and part of the reason we’ve struggled with that is the expectation to win.
“When we face Dundee or Motherwell on a Sunday the expectation is to win but internally we’ve got to deal with the fatigue and the travel, we’ve not managed to deal with that - we’ve not caused enough problems to these teams. We’ve had a lot of possession but we’ve played safe - we’ve got to put them under pressure.”
Another home fixture, however, will be exceptionally advantageous for the Jambos as Naismith points out the power behind the fans: “The crowd is such a good weapon - there are not many stadiums like (Tynecastle) that give you that atmosphere and that intimidation.
“You’ve got to give (the fans) something, if we come out and we think we’re just going to keep the ball it’s boring, for the fans, for us and players. I believe in the way we play but it takes time, it takes making mistakes, learning from mistakes.”
Aberdeen and Hearts is an exceptionally fraught fixture with both teams struggling to win away from home. However, Naismith is under no misconception that the Dons’ nine winless league matches at Tynecastle indicate it will be an easy ride.
Ahead of the clash, the confirmed boss has said: “They’ve recruited quite a few players so there’s options there to play with - you might not be able to nail their starting XI and it will be a tough game. Over the years they’ve been challenging Hearts for those European places and that’s something we know we need to start fast - you can’t just turn up and expect (a win) to be the case.”