Steven Naismith reveals Hearts goalkeeper chat ahead of Rangers clash with one thing clear about Craig Gordon

Hearts goalkeeper Craig Gordon and head coach Steven NaismithHearts goalkeeper Craig Gordon and head coach Steven Naismith
Hearts goalkeeper Craig Gordon and head coach Steven Naismith
The Hearts leader has opened up on his goalkeeper situation ahead of facing Rangers.

Steven Naismith has no concerns over rustiness in Craig Gordon - as the veteran goalkeeper edges towards peak levels ahead of Hearts vs Rangers.

The 41-year-old started his first Premiership game since a serious leg break in December 2022 during Saturday’s 4-2 win over Livingston. He has been played in Scottish Cup matches this season and will start between the sticks in Sunday’s semi-final. The winner will face Aberdeen or Celtic in the showpiece match next month.

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Zander Clark has been the number one at Hearts this season and he has kept his place for league business since the Gorgie legend’s return. Both are also competing for a place in Steve Clarke’s Euro 2024 squad. A conversation has been had over the goalkeeping situation, with Clark fully on board with Naismith’s call to pitch Gordon in versus Livingston.

The shot-stopper has impressed in training and that plays into Naismith’s thinking that the experienced star is getting back to his best. He told the Edinburgh Evening News: “The coaches had a discussion about it and trying to plan last week and this week, and what that would look like.

“We felt it was the right decision and as always, I am very honest with the players and comfortable to have those conversations. Zander understands the situation and why it was done. Craig is happy to get more game time so everybody is on the same page with it.

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"I don't think there's any concern for me that there is a rustiness because there's not, I watch him every day and his training has been excellent. Training has been excellent and the games he's played in, he's been back to the level I think he is at. It was more about banking more minutes going into the semi-final more than anything else.”

Hearts have never got the better of Rangers at Hampden, losing the League Cup semi-final 3-1 to the Ibrox side earlier this season. Naismith hopes his side packing competition for places can make amends for a game they weren’t happy with the outcome of.

He added: “I think we have got that within the squad, the competition for places is good. We have not got loads of injuries which is good and breeds that competition. We want that going into the semi-final, we have been in a semi-final before.

“We know the outcome wasn't good and what we wanted so we want to be better than that. The way we work, expect to be in the later round of cups, but we need to try and get to finals and win trophies.”

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