Steven Naismith doesn’t feel his chances of becoming Hearts manager are reliant on defeating Hibs on Saturday, but says a derby win is important regardless of any other considerations.
The Edinburgh derby is the final match of the season for both sides and will determine who finishes fourth in the Premiership table and has a guaranteed place in Europe next season.
Naismith will be in the dugout again, taking charge of his seventh game since being appointed as interim boss following Robbie Neilson’s departure. He has two wins under his belt already but doesn’t think too much should be judged on whether or not he signs off with a third.
“I think over the course of the seven weeks, there will be moments where people will have been like: ‘He can do the job’, and there will be moments where people will go: ‘Nah, he’s not got enough experience’,” Naismith said.
“So that’s why I’m saying I don’t feel I will be judged on one game. It’s a big game because it’s a derby. We’re next to each other in the table.
“But we’ve not been solely focusing on this game. We’ve been focusing on a plan to try and win games consistently and have something here that lasts, that we’re building something that’s not just giving you short-term results and in a year’s time you’re back at the start.
“The club needs something bigger than that, and since I’ve come in and taken charge, that’s been at the forefront of my mind, really.”
Naismith feels that his case will be judged on how he works day in day out, and at the training ground, but acknowledges that all eyes will be on Tynecastle this weekend. Hibs go into the game having defeated Celtic in midweek but Hearts have shown their strength with a win over Aberdeen and a 2-2 draw at Ibrox in the last seven days.
The coach believes his side have a good performance in them and can handle the pressure of the game, having already shown their mettle in previous matches.
“It’s a big game,” Naismith said. “Every derby is a big game.
“Being a derby, you want to win, so it’s an important game on that front. Pressure comes with that game but I think in the short period I’ve been in charge the two significant games for me were Ross County and Aberdeen because you’re on the back of other results and everybody is asking how this is going to go.
“We put on a great performance against Ross County and then Aberdeen is labelled by everybody as a must-win game. We go out and perform, go behind, control the game but do what we wanted within the game and we won.
“So this is just another one of these games where we need to go out and perform because that is the pressure of playing with Hearts.”