What did Steven Naismith say about Robbie Neilson and the Hearts fans?
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The 36-year-old has been promoted from B team head coach to become temporary first team manager until the end of the season following Neilson’s dismissal on Sunday.
“What the previous manager did during his time with the club was amazing,” said Naismith. “We had some tough times before he was appointed, and over a short period of time, he dragged the club to being back in Europe.
“That can’t be underestimated. A change has happened, and we now need to get back on that journey and continue on that crest of a wave to get back up there and progress the club. We’ve made massive strides and we have an opportunity to continue that.”
Naismith’s first game as Hearts boss is the Edinburgh derby away to Hibs at Easter Road on Saturday and he is asking for the fans to get right behind the team. Supporters booed and jeered at Tynecastle on Saturday when Hearts lost 2-0 at home to St Mirren. It was their fifth defeat on the bounce and fan opinion was taken into consideration when the board decided that Neilson’s time was up the following day.
“They’re demanding!” acknowledged Naismith. “But we can’t see that as a negative, we need to see it as a positive. It took me time when I first joined Hearts on loan to hit my stride, but when I did, I reaped the rewards. The backing they gave me meant my performances just got better and better.
“It got me back in the national set-up, so I’ve got a lot to thank that for. All I want is them to give us everything. Hopefully, over time we’ll give them as much back. At the end of the season, we want to be sitting here saying ‘it’s worked out.’
“That’s the message. We all need to be one, pulling in the same direction, and we all need to know that everyone wants what’s best for the club.”