Steven Naismith insists Hearts denied penalty as Rangers example used to highlight VAR 'inconsistency'

Steven Naismith acknowledged the significance of Hearts’ win at Motherwell but warned the pressure would still be on if his team’s form wavered again after the international break.
Hearts were denied a penalty when Liam Boyce went down under a tackle from Motherwell's Dan Casey. (Photo by Craig Foy / SNS Group)Hearts were denied a penalty when Liam Boyce went down under a tackle from Motherwell's Dan Casey. (Photo by Craig Foy / SNS Group)
Hearts were denied a penalty when Liam Boyce went down under a tackle from Motherwell's Dan Casey. (Photo by Craig Foy / SNS Group)

Two goals from Lawrence Shankland gave Hearts a strong foothold in the game making Blair Spittal’s late penalty a mere consolation.

The pressure had been building on Naismith after an indifferent start to the season and the manager knew the team would have to continue to accumulate points to appease a demanding fanbase.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“It was a big win because of our previous results,” he said. “It’s important you stop that and get the points you need as quickly as possible. I thought we did that with what was a really good performance overall.

“It should have been a bigger margin because we had a couple more chances and we should have had a penalty or two. But the positive is that when they score, we defended really well in the dying moments.

“That had been questioned with us losing some quick goals back to back in games. There’s a demand and an expectation.

“That’s not just one week and then it’s off. It’s there every week. It’s pleasing the way we performed got us that.

“A big question of this squad has been their away form, it has been really poor over the years. That’s now four away games this season that we’ve won. It’s something that takes time.

“There are some moments you want to be better but you hope over time they get eradicated and the good stuff shines through. But if we don’t keep winning, the pressure comes.

“In this job you’re always under pressure. Even after this win. You’ll be under pressure from somebody.”

Not for the first time, Naismith took umbrage with some of the match officials’ decision-making, believing Liam Boyce deserved a first-half penalty after he appeared to be impeded in the box and Shankland could have had one in the second half.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“Liam Boyce should have got a penalty,” added Naismith. “And if the referee says there’s not enough contact, he can’t give a foul in the middle of the park 20 minutes later for one that’s got less contact. It doesn’t make sense to me.

“Then the second one, at Ibrox we get blocked and the penalty (for Rangers) stands. This time there’s saying there’s a block and blocks now count. It’s the inconsistency that’s ruining it. You just hope at some point it changes.”

Motherwell have now taken just two points from 27 and manager Stuart Kettlewell felt only hard work during the international break could arrest this slump.

“We keep shooting ourselves in the foot and the outcome today was evident,” he said. “If we’ve conceded the most goals in the league then of course that’s why you start to lose games of football. With the run we’re on you can see a bit of nervous energy at times.

“What we have to do over the international break is work hard. I never shied away from that even when we were winning games. You have to put the hours in and that’s what we’re going to do again. That’s the only way we’re going to get out of this poor run and we can’t shirk it or hide from it. That’s the challenge that has been laid down to the players.”



Want to join the conversation? Please or to comment on this article.