St Mirren: Steven Naismith 'future manager' credentials backed as Hearts coach talks revealed

Steven Naismith has been backed as a future manager by his former boss at international and club-level, Craig Levein, having emerged as a candidate for the vacancy at St Mirren.

Paisley boss Jim Goodwin moved to Aberdeen on Saturday and names in the frame to replace him at the Buddies include Scott Brown and Naismith.

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.

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"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.

Hearts coach Steven Naismith during a cinch Premiership match between St Mirren and Hearts at SMISA Stadium, on August 07, 2021, in Paisley, Scotland (Photo by Alan Harvey / SNS Group)

“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.”

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