Steven Naismith talks up Hearts trophy chances as he heaps praise on ‘world class’ Craig Gordon

Hearts and Hibs strode out on to rain-soaked Hampden to the James Bond theme tune in honour of Sean Connery.

And while that was a fitting tribute to the capital’s most famous son, at the end of Saturday’s Scottish Cup semi-final they should have walked off to Flash Gordon.

Not that the Hearts keeper is flash. Anything but.

Craig Gordon, is though a hugely talented goalkeeper and with every passing game the decision by Celtic to allow him to leave is looking like their loss and Tynecastle’s gain.

His Hearts captain Steven Naismith is in no doubt.

The Scotland striker came off the bench to steer his side to the Final after Liam Boyce struck from the penalty spot, four minutes after Kevin Nisbet had missed one for Hibs in extra time.

He is convinced his team are now looking forward to a Scottish Cup Final five days before Christmas because Gordon was between the sticks at Hampden.

And he reckons luring him back to where he started his career has been the best bit of business his club have done in years.

After watching the 37-year-old make two sensational stops to deny Nisbet and Christian Doidge as Hearts beat their rivals 2-1, Naismith said: “He’s made two world-class saves.

“I said when we got him that he would be the best signing we’ve made by a country mile, just for his pure quality.

a group of people playing a game of football

                                       © SNS Group / SFA

“He’s worth eight points a season on his own. He’s won us this semi-final – with having him in the goal we’re in the Final. He played a bigger part than anybody else.

“When you’ve got that guy behind you, you’re delighted. You feel much more confident.

“Even when they got the penalty I was standing there thinking, ‘Craigy might save this’.

“It was a very shrewd bit of business for the club and everyone has seen the bigger picture on what he brings. And what he brings is success.”

Naisy believes the Hibs penalty miss was pivotal to the outcome and admits he was thrilled to come out on the right side of a match that could have gone either way.

Steven Naismith holding a football ball

                                        © SNS Group

He added: “There’s no doubt that if they’d scored the game changes and it would have been totally different.

“We would have had to throw caution to the wind and arguably we’d have been odds on not to go through.

“But when he misses it that’s what we got the lift from. That spurred us on and the game did become really end to end.

“In the second half we were comfortable in possession and that’s what got us our foothold in the game and got us up the park – and when our subs came on they did well.

“Aidy (White) comes on and wins us the penalty.

a man on a football field

                                     © PA

“To be fair Boycey’s had a tough night. He’s had chances and he didn’t take them – but you can rely on him from the penalty spot and he’s stuck it away confidently.”

Naismith also knows his team is fired by a sense of injustice over their relegation to the Championship and says they are using that as fuel in every game

they play.

He added: “What happened back then has happened and the consequences of that are that we are in the league below where we should be.

“We use that as a motivation every single week – we want to get back to the Premiership as quick as we can.

Steven Naismith holding a football ball

                                          © PA Steven Naismith

“In any interview any of us have done this season we’ve accepted we are favourites for the league. We have grabbed that mantle and said, ‘Aye’.

“So in the cup competitions we fancy ourselves. We don’t think we’re lucky to be here or anything like that.

“We believe that and we showed it at Hampden. Through the pre-season the manager made it clear that we need to win the league.

“We won’t accept anything less and that means winning games week in, week out.

“But we always had this semi on the horizon and it kept everybody interested and competition for places high.

“Now that we’re through this it’s effectively the same feeling as we now know we’ve got a final to look forward to.

“Everybody has to be playing well to stay in the team and if they are we should be winning league games and that should give us confidence going into the Final.”

Naismith won three league titles, a Scottish Cup and a League Cup with Rangers and admits adding to the collection at the age of 34 would be special. He said: “It would be brilliant. You never get sick of winning trophies. I would treasure it.

a football player on a field

                                        © SNS

“In terms of the build-up I’d probably treat it a bit

differently as I’ve got so much more experience now.

“But I have the same hunger and desire to win trophies and you know how good it is to do it when you’ve done it.

“It gives you a great sense of achievement and we’ll strive for that but I don’t think the boys need too much motivation.

“The manager and coaches have instilled that and the morale is great.”

Source: Msn.com

Facebook Comments

You May Also Like

Leave a Reply

SuperWebTricks Loading...
  • :
  • :
error: Content is protected !!