Steven Naismith makes Real Madrid comparison as he discusses Hearts and Aberdeen mindsets
Hearts’ approach won’t alter against Aberdeen despite huge connotations attached to Saturday’s match at Tynecastle, interim manager Steven Naismith explained today. Both clubs are chasing third place in the Premiership, which could mean guaranteed European group-stage football next season.
Naismith is determined that Hearts set out their stall to attack and win the game. Aberdeen currently hold third spot with a five-point advantage over their Edinburgh rivals. With only three league games remaining, that means the hosts realistically need a victory in Gorgie.
A draw would be a far more useful result for those from Pittodrie. “That might be their mindset, but every game I’ve gone into as a coach I’ve thought: ‘We have to have something in our armoury to win the game.’ It’s not been about surviving, ever,” stressed Naismith. “I understand that might be Aberdeen’s mindset but you see teams doing it for years.
“I’ve watched Real Madrid sit in during a game and then scoring in the last minute. Every manager is different but my thought is always to go and win it. Even drawing last week [at St Mirren], if Aberdeen won [against Hibs] they would have got away a little bit. There’s something riding on every game so our mindset won’t be any different to last week or the week before.”
Hearts produced encouraging displays in their last two Tynecastle fixtures against Ross County and Celtic. Naismith will hope to draw on some of that positivity against Aberdeen “Obviously we know what we have to do, but I’ve felt this way in every top-six game,” he said. “I’ve gone into them all thinking ‘we want to win’ as that will give us a better chance.
“It’s a big game but the [Edinburgh] derby was a big game. Celtic was a big game when we needed the points and they were going for the title. They’ve all been big games. This is another pressure game, but there’s always pressure at Hearts. I noticed it when I came here, there’s pressure to produce at home to give the fans something they’ll buy into and get behind.”