Hearts’ Steven Naismith desperate to jon Scotland’s footballing greats
Sitting in the Scottish Football Hall of Fame with Steven Naismith, you are overlooked by Sir Alex Ferguson, Kenny Dalglish, Ally McCoist, Jock Stein, Denis Law and so many other legends who adorn the walls. Naismith openly admits he is desperate for his image to join them.
He sits on 49 caps, one short of the 50 needed to permit automatic entry. A knee injury prevents him playing for Scotland against Cyprus or Belgium over the coming days. “At the moment I’m desperate to get it,” he said.
“Getting to this point has been ups and downs. I was on 15 caps. Then it’s 25. It’s a bit of a blur, you’re constantly playing – club, country, club, country, year after year.
“Suddenly you are at 41, 42, 43. And then I had a bit of a stale patch when I never really got anything. I was wondering if that was me done, that I wouldn’t get to the 50, but then I managed to get to 49 somehow.”
He initially joined Hearts on loan 18 months ago aiming to gain more caps.
“I’m a man of my word, aren’t I?” he laughed. “And this decision I make over the summer about where I play, it’s one of the biggest, if not the biggest, part of making the decision. I want to give myself the best chance, if we make the Euros, to be in that squad. The first point is to get fit, get back into the team and hopefully show the manager I am good enough.”
New national coach Steve Clarke is not the type to dish out a 50th cap sentimentally.
“That’s the best way. That’s the way I would like it,” said Naismith. “It would probably taint it slightly if I got a 50th ‘jolly’ type cap. I’d rather work for it.”