Alan Stubbs rates Hearts target Steven Naismith very highly

Scotland international Steven Naismith is wanted by Hearts. Picture: Rob Casey/SNS
Scotland international Steven Naismith is wanted by Hearts. Picture: Rob Casey/SNS
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Scotland striker Steven Naismith has agreed to join Hearts on loan until the end of the season and is expected to undergo a medical today.

The Edinburgh club plan to have the 31-year-old signed in time to make his debut in Sunday’s Scottish Cup tie against Hibs. They are currently finalising details with his club Norwich City, but all parties are willing for the deal to happen.

Naismith has agreed to the move after falling out of favour at Norwich and, barring any unexpected hitches,
the former Everton striker should put pen to paper by the weekend.

He has not played competitively since August but is now preparing to be pitched into an Edinburgh derby.

He was linked with his former clubs Rangers and Kilmarnock but his next destination looks likely to be Tynecastle. With 45 Scotland caps, 
he is keen to continue his 
international career and will hope that joining Hearts can keep him in the national squad.

Alan Stubbs, a former coach at Everton, worked with Naismith at Goodison and believes he will prove to be a very good signing for Hearts, although he’s surprised the Norwich player wasn’t snapped up by another English Championship club. “He has great attributes, he’s a great lad, very down to earth, humble,” the former Hibs manager said.

“His workrate for the team is very, very good. He obviously knows where the goal is and he doesn’t pick up a lot of injuries.

“He’s great in the air, as a defender he is a pest to play against even although he isn’t the biggest. He has great spring, he will rattle you, rile you, get on your nerves.

“He is a clever player, has a very good understanding of his role. He never stops working, sometimes he works too hard, runs around too much to be honest.

“It seems a bit strange to say, but that’s in his make-up.

“I’m a bit surprised, not because it’s Hearts, but that I thought there would be clubs in the Championship who may have been on the table.

“There may be other things around it, maybe Steven wanted to get back to Scotland. That could be a big factor in it, but they have got themselves a very good player.”