Naismith makes decision to call time on Robert Snodgrass’ Hearts stay

The 35-year-old midfielder is set to finalise an immediate departure from Tynecastle.

Steven Naismith makes decision to call time on Robert Snodgrass’ Hearts stay SNS Group

Steven Naismith has made his first major decision as Hearts manager by telling former Scotland team-mate Robert Snodgrass his Tynecastle career is up.

The 35-year-old midfielder is set to finalise an immediate departure days after getting sent off in a 2-0 home defeat by St Mirren, a fifth consecutive defeat which prompted the Hearts board to sack Robbie Neilson.

Naismith has been brought in as manager until the end of the season and has quickly made his mark.

“I had a conversation with Snoddy,” he said on the club’s official website. “I have a good relationship with Snoddy as a player and a team-mate.

“The decision’s been made that he’s probably not going to get many minutes. I’ve experienced that myself as a player and we had a talk about it.

“Snoddy’s family are still down south and the best outcome for everybody would be that he gets time to spend with his family and I focus on a group that’s going to go forward.

“A big thing for me over the past two years at the club has been working with young players.

“As a club, that’s something that needs to be much better. We’ve not been good enough on that front. We’ve got to give these guys an opportunity to play in the first team.”

Naismith praised the “amazing” work Neilson did in taking Hearts from the Championship to European group stage football via two Scottish Cup finals but stressed he was ready for the job.

“Did I ever expect it to come so quickly? Probably not, but since stepping into coaching, there’s been a rapid rise in terms of experience,” he said.

“I took the lead on the 18s when John Rankin left, then the B team, and then being involved with the national team. I’ve crammed a lot into my time being a coach. I’ve learned a lot and I feel that I’m well-equipped for the upcoming couple of months.

“The biggest thing I’ve learned since joining Hearts is that there’s a demand at the club. It’s got to be a good demand and the players have got to enjoy that. The fans want attacking football. They want a team that goes into every game trying to win it. Not one that’s going to defend and hold out for a draw or a 1-0 lead.

“I was like that as a player; I wanted to be on the front foot and enjoyed having the ball and creating opportunities. I want play entertaining football. That’s easy to say and harder to implement on the training pitch and in games, but that’s what I want.

“I’m not naive to think that this is going to be easy, but I want us to be a team that takes games by the scruff of the neck.”

Another of Naismith’s former team-mates, ex-Scotland and Rangers player Lee McCulloch, also exited the club in recent days to leave assistant manager Gordon Forrest and Frankie McAvoy to form Naismith’s backroom team for the final seven games of the season.

Naismith, whose managerial reign kicks off with an Edinburgh derby at Easter Road on Saturday, said: “I know Frankie well: he was assistant manager during my time at Norwich City and got on really well during that time. We’ve worked together very closely since he came in as academy director.

“Frankie’s got a wealth of experience in the game from being a manager, being an assistant, and he’s someone who sees the game differently to me. That’s a strong point, because he’ll see things that I sometimes don’t.

“Gordon and I are very similar in loads of aspects: preparation, training, set-up, and delivery, how we want the game to be played.

“Gordy’s got a real enthusiasm for the game and I’m learning from him. I’ve learned on him a lot since I’ve been in my job.”

STV News is now on WhatsApp

Get all the latest news from around the country

Follow STV News
Follow STV News on WhatsApp

Scan the QR code on your mobile device for all the latest news from around the country

WhatsApp channel QR Code