Steven Naismith on Hearts frustrations and decisions that 'cost us' as St Mirren make 'win by 5 or 6' claim

Hearts boss Steven Naismith lamented his team’s first-half performance in the 2-2 draw with St Mirren, but expressed his relief that they are still in the race for third place in the Premiership.

The Tynecastle Park club found themselves 2-0 down at half-time but recovered with a much improved second-half performance to rescue a point in stoppage time through Lawrence Shankland’s penalty despite being down to ten men following Peter Haring’s red card. It was, however, a missed opportunity, with Aberdeen drawing with Hibs.

"We are still in it," Naismith said. “That's the main thing. with the way the results went it's okay but the first half was really frustrating because it was nowhere near good enough for where the expectation for the club is. We were far too safe and passive. St Mirren pressed as we expected they would and we weren't good enough to get through it in the first half. That's a real frustration because in the second half you see, with nothing to lose, the boys make brave decisions in key moments and that gets us back in the game and then we have the desire to play for the 95, 96 minutes and we come away with something that gives us hope. That's what it gives me. It gives me hope that the second half performance was so contrasted to the first.”

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He added: “I want them to bring a ball down out of the air when there’s not that much pressure on them for a start. At this level, if we want to be a team consistently in Europe you’ve got to be able to do that.”

‘Cost us’

Naismith was also left “frustrated again this week because of a lack of consistency” over refereeing decisions, noting “three” incidents which he disagreed with: Haring’s red card, James Hill's foul for the second goal and a penalty shout for the Austrian. “The red card, I disagreed with. I thought it was a foul to stop the game from a counter,” he said. “It was right in front of me, I didn't think it was aggressive or even the speed I don't think is excessive. The foul for the second goal, I don't agree with. Hilly just goes and wins the ball yet we get given a foul against us and it cost us.”

St Mirren boss Stephen Robinson felt his side had done enough to only only see the game out but create “enough chances to win the game by five or six”. The dropped points mean his side remain three points away from fifth.

“We were 30 seconds from being a point behind Hibs and Hearts,” he said. “It’s a huge blow for us and a huge disappointment for us. The first half we were excellent. We took the game to Hearts and we said at half time, go after the game. But we didn’t stop the cross for the first goal and we make a poor decision for the penalty.

Hearts boss Steven Naismith wasn't happy with his team's first-half performance.  (Photo by Alan Harvey / SNS Group)Hearts boss Steven Naismith wasn't happy with his team's first-half performance.  (Photo by Alan Harvey / SNS Group)
Hearts boss Steven Naismith wasn't happy with his team's first-half performance. (Photo by Alan Harvey / SNS Group)

“Our decision-making on the break wasn’t great, but it’s not one person’s fault. It’s not a blame game. Collectively we made poor decisions. We played with a little bit of fear in the second half. We were so close to the points, but we took a step back instead of a step forward and we got massively punished for that today.”



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