Hearts are said to have permitted early talks to take place with their under-18s coach one of the candidates shortlisted for interview and the manager who took Naismith to Tynecastle has backed his credentials as a manager – be that in Renfrewshire or elsewhere.
"We brought him to Hearts with that in mind,” admitted Craig Levein. “We spoke to him about becoming a coach and then a manager if everything went well.”
Kilmarnock were also thought to have considered the former Rangers, Norwich and Everton forward who picked up 51 Scotland caps – and 15 under Levein.
“Everyone would acknowledge he is a leader on the field as a player and was a guy who could change matches,” Levein added on BBC Sportsound.
“He’s a clever guy, he’s really dedicated to his work and serious about coaching and I always recognised he would be a manager at one point.
"I’m not surprised [by the interest], he’s a likeable guy well-respected by his team-mates at Hearts.
“It’s whether he takes this job or another job.”
Asked if he thought Naismith would be ready for management now, from his role as Tynecastle under-18s coach he added: “That can only be answered by him taking a job but I’d say yes.
“He has got the credentials to become a really good manager.”