Steven Naismith’s four-year deal a surprise but Hearts should not be so reliant on one man
Footballers perform more often than not when they feel wanted, and there is no question Hearts wanted to get Steven Naismith badly.
He has been brilliant for the club during his two loan spells, both in terms of what he has brought on the pitch and for what he has done off it despite being injured.
I don’t mind admitting that when I heard he signed a four-year contract I was taken a bit by surprise.
If the medical staff have looked at him and said everything is sound with the injury he had, then the desire and energy he showed as a substitute on Sunday at Pittodrie can certainly take us forward.
It is a worry for me that we seem to be reliant on one individual in the team picking up the pieces, though. There appears to be an onus on a 32-year-old to be the main figure.
It’s great if he is there all the time, but there will be times when you need to manage him if you are playing Saturday-midweek-Saturday-midweek. Especially when he puts so much into games.
Maybe Steven will be able to manage himself and continue to be that influence through the games but it is a big onus on him. He looks like he is capable of carrying that onus, provided he stays injury-free.
Steven MacLean is older than Naismith but when he played for St Johnstone he was used sparingly at Kilmarnock and Hamilton because of the astroturf pitches. Will those surfaces be conducive to Hearts getting the best from Naismith? Maybe there will be more dogged individuals used in those games. We don’t know as only time will tell.
I would love to see Naismith in the team all the time because of what he brings, but there has to be preparation for when he isn’t there. Mentally, for the other players, that can be difficult when they know how important he is.
I’d like to think others will step up to the mark, like Jamie Walker once he’s fully fit after not having played a lot of football. There are a lot of attacking options available this season and I hope that leads to plenty goals for the Hearts fans.