Steven Naismith reveals when Hearts star with 'unbelievable' talent can be fully unleashed after injury woes

The Hearts head coach has recently welcomed a star back from injury.
Hearts head coach Steven NaismithHearts head coach Steven Naismith
Hearts head coach Steven Naismith

Steven Naismith says Hearts need to get Barrie McKay up to full speed if they want to unlock his full array of exciting talents.

The attack-minded star made just his fifth Premiership appearance of the season on Saturday off the bench during a 1-1 draw with Kilmarnock. It was his first outing since tweaking his knee against Hibs days after Christmas, having not featured in the league until December with a PCL injury.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

McKay has admitted the campaign has been stop-start and head coach Naismith is aware of the frustration behind an injury-hit campaign. When asked about how long it would take to get the 29-year-old up to full match speed, the former forward insisted it would be a decision taken upon a range of factors.

He told the Edinburgh Evening News: "I think it is a combination of things. How he's feeling, how he's worked through the week in training. How he is feeling at the weekends.

"The stage of the game, whether we think he is good enough to start and play as long he can and then come off or whether we say we leave him later when he is fresher and players are tired.

"It is a mixture of everything but the one thing I do know is Barrie McKay has unbelievable ability. He is a real asset for us so we need to get him to the point he is firing on all cylinders, feeling fit in what has been a frustrating season for him."

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Naismith reckons Saturday's stalemate with Killie came after some stars were left feeling the impacts of tough international breaks. Players like Kye Rowles never came into the building until the Friday before matchday, and looking ahead to St Mirren this weekend, Naismith expects some inconsistences that lurked in the Tynecastle match to be ironed out.

He added: "Having a full week to prepare for a game gives you a lot more time to get detail into the players and you don't ask as much of them. I would hope we can have more consistency for 90 minutes. At times against Kilmarnock we were good and started well. I think we will be better.”

Related topics:

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.