Naismith: Best memories Hearts players will have is from winning silverware

The Hearts boss is aiming to steer his side past Morton and on to Hampden glory.

Hearts head coach Steven Naismith has told his players that memories of winning silverware will be the ones they cherish from their career, as the Tynecastle club prepares for their Scottish Cup quarter-final.

Naismith and his players head to Cappielow to face Morton on Monday night, with a place at Hampden at stake.

With the team enjoying a successful season and looking assured of finishing third in the Premiership, going on to lift the Scottish Cup at the end of the season would turn a good season into a great one and the Hearts boss feels that would be visible proof of the team’s developments.

“There’s no big change (in approach),” he said. “The demand is that we get to the later rounds of cups and whether it’s at Hampden or whether it’s just getting to the next round, that is there.

“We want to be a successful team. The team has made really good strides and we’ve progressed in loads of ways but the best way we can show that is by getting silverware.

“For a player and an individual, it’s the best memories you will have. You can get to the end of a career and have made loads of money, played at a high level, but the biggest things that stay with you are memories of being successful and winning trophies.

“That’s what we’ve got to strive to get to.”

Naismith was on the receiving end of a cup upset at Cappielow as a young player at Kilmarnock under Jim Jefferies and Billy Brown when they lost to Morton in 2007, a memory that stays with him to this day.

“It’s the first time I really experienced a manager going mental,” he said.

“It wasn’t a good day and I remember going back on the bus how I felt after it.

“It put me in good stead because I went on to win both cup competitions in Scotland. It’s something I remember, I didn’t enjoy and I don’t want to experience it again.”

The manager says the bruising nature of that result has shaped his approach to this game, though times had changed.

“You don’t go mental now at players,” he joked. “That doesn’t happen.

“It’s definitely something that I have used this week to make everyone aware that this isn’t just us third in the league, doing well being nice and pretty and getting it all our own way.

“That’s not going to happen. They are going to try and they’ll believe they can cause an upset. We need to guard against that.

“I don’t want the feeling I had in that cup tie and you use it all to make sure you’re prepared for the game.”

Naismith confirmed that Craig Gordon will be in goals for Hearts on Monday, a continuation from previous cup games, though Zander Clark has been in possession of the jersey in the league.

Gordon has declared his intent to make the Scotland squad for the Euros and is aiming to win back his club starting place. Naismith says he can’t fault the veteran goalkeeper’s attitude but that he will have to be patient.

“Craig can’t do any more than he’s doing,” he said. “He’s working really hard, he’s performing in training.

“The whole way through his recovery, the question has been ‘Can he get back to the level (he was at)?’ and I’m comfortable that he’s back at that level.

“The only thing that’s out of his control is what the other guy does on the pitch and Zander’s performances this season, and more so from November onwards, have been up there with the top level.

“In that position you need to be patient.”

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