Hearts’ Steven Naismith ‘unlikely to be ready’ for Scottish Cup final
Hearts manager Craig Levein revealed today that striker Steven Naismith is unlikely to be fit for the Scottish Cup final.
Out since February with a knee injury, Naismith is running out of time for the Hampden Park showpiece against Celtic in less than three weeks and Levein does not expect him to be available.
Doctors told the player he required knee surgery after being substituted at half-time in the 2-1 defeat by Celtic at Tynecastle Park on February 27. His recovery is going to plan but he has yet to begin running at Riccarton and Levein isn’t confident that the 32-year-old will make the cup final.
“I don’t think Steven will be ready for the final. That’s my take on it,” he told the Evening News. “He isn’t back in full training yet. He isn’t even back doing running yet. He is coming on well and he is improving, but I don’t see him being ready, unfortunately.”
Hearts are in the process of finalising a contract to sign Naismith permanently from Norwich City. He is currently on loan in Edinburgh and is the top scorer at Tynecastle with 14 goals in 27 games in Scotland this season.
Levein said he will give the Scotland internationalist time to recover fully to ensure he is injury-free next season. “We are getting close to getting this deal done. If Steven was only going to be our player until the end of the season, then I’d be pushing him to play. If we’re giving him a new contract, I want to make sure he is right for next season.
“We have done a lot of business already for next season and I feel really good about it. Areas where we have lacked quality this year, I can address in the summer. What I don’t want to do is have Naismith starting the season with a problem so I’m going to be very careful with that.”