Naismith understands fan reaction after 'sloppy' Celtic defeat

The Hearts manager said fans were justified in their reaction to the heavy defeat at Tynecastle, but urged his players to put it right.

Hearts boss Steven Naismith expected the negative reaction that greeted his side’s heavy home defeat to Celtic – but reassured fans that his players are “just as frustrated” by recent results.

The Gorgie faithful have seen their side win just one of five league games this season having thrown away a two-goal lead against Edinburgh rivals Hibernian in their previous Tynecastle fixture.

Matt O’Riley fired Celtic into a third-minute lead in the capital on Sunday and the Jambos found themselves three down within an hour despite the visitors missing a second half penalty.

Lawrence Shankland reduced the deficit but Tomoki Iwata’s thumping effort secured a 4-1 success for the Premiership leaders, condemning Hearts to a second home defeat of the season.

Naismith bemoaned his side’s low start, adding he was furious at the concession of “sloppy” goals.

“We work all week and we do not expect to concede a goal in three minutes,” he said.

“But I felt even after the first goal, we still played well with the way we set up and with Kenneth getting in behind, we had opportunities down the sides, Alex Lowry picked up some good positions.

“But then our quality in the final third just wasn’t there.

“If you respond quickly, then the games goes back to neutral, but we didn’t, we gave up another opportunity which results in another goal and it becomes much tougher at that point.”

A chorus of boos from the remaining home crowd greeted the final whistle.

Naismith admitted that reaction was justified, but said his squad has time to make up for their poor performances in the coming weeks.

The Jambos face a double header against Rangers in Glasgow, first at Ibrox next weekend and then at Hampden the following week in the Viaplay Cup semi-finals.

The Hearts boss wants his side to reward the support for their loyalty.

He said: “I think when you lose at home, you expect the boos. The players are frustrated and the fans are, so that’s just a situation that occurs.

“The games that we are coming up against are really good games, they are the kind of games that you want in the coming weeks.”

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