Steve Clarke provides update on Steven Naismith after Scotland injury scare

Steve Clarke has confirmed Steven Naismith is ‘fine’ despite the Hearts striker being substituted moments after picking up a knock during the 2-1 win over Cyprus.

Saturday, 16th November 2019, 5:13 pm
Scotland's Steven Naismith applauds the fans after the final whistle. Pic: Tim Goode/PA

Speaking following Scotland’s European Championship qualifying victory, Clarke confirmed that the substitution was already planned. 

He said: “Steven is fine.

“The substitution was already going ahead [before the injury]. In my head it was pre-planned.

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“He was shouting at me that he was fine and didn’t want to come off but it was something that I had in my mind to do anyway.”

Naismith has missed much of the 2019/20 season due to injury and only returned to the Hearts starting line-up last weekend in the 5-2 win over St Mirren. His last Scotland appearance was in a 3-1 defeat to Portugal last October.

Clarke had named the Hearts striker captain for the day as he picked up his 50th cap for the national team as they registered a second win in a row.

The Scotland boss admitted to being happy with the response from his players after Cyprus equalised. He said it was “really pleasing because it was something we spoke about at half-time.

“Our reaction to the adversity of losing the first goal in Russia wasn’t great, but the reaction to 1-1 tonight was really good and we got back in front with a great team goal.

“I feel we’re still a work in progress and getting better.”

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