Moyes not surprised Steven Naismith is starring for Hearts and Scotland

With eight goals and three assists, Hearts striker Steven Naismith has done more than his share to ensure Craig Levein's side will stay top of the Premiership regardless of this weekend's results.

Hearts forward Steven Naismith. Picture: Paul Devlin

The 32-year-old, in his second loan spell at Tynecastle from Norwich, has also restored his reputation on the international stage. Having been left out of the original squad for the games against Belgium and Albania earlier this month, he started the latter match and took his tally for his country to eight with the clincher in the 2-0 Uefa Nations League victory.

That prompted Scotland manager Alex McLeish to publicly declare that the jersey was now the veteran’s to lose.

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Naismith, pictured, has previously recovered from serious knee and ankle injuries, and David Moyes, the manager who took him to Everton when Rangers went into liquidation in 2012, is delighted he has once again proved the doubters wrong.

“I’m surprised that people are surprised,” he said. “Naisy is a brilliant pro but he’s been a bit unlucky at times. He’s wholehearted, he’s a really good pro who does things right. He’s a good ambassador for football with the things that he does for good causes off the pitch.

“Scotland needs that and I don’t think we should neglect the boys who have got a little bit older. We still need them while we’re trying to grow some of the younger players.”

Moyes added: “He found his first year at Everton quite difficult but, in his second year, he did really well. He’s a really clever player. With age and experience, it will help to have him involved in the squad.”

Moyes, 55, who has also managed Manchester United, Sunderland, West Ham and Real Sociedad, is currently out of work but will wait for the right job. He added: “I wouldn’t say I’m desperate to get back in. When you look at the jobs going around at the moment, you need to make sure that you pick the right one.

“The MLS is improving and, as a result, it’s become more appealing, although the Premier League remains the biggest draw and it’s where you’d really prefer to be. I’d also like to manage in Scotland. I’ve always thought I’d come back some day but, with respect, the best stuff is still down south.

“I enjoyed my spell at West Ham last season; we did a really good job and we were disappointed when the contracts weren’t renewed. So working in England remains my preference and there are a limited number of posts in Scotland which would interest me.”

l David Moyes was speaking at a William Hill media event. William Hill is the proud sponsor of Saturday’s Ayr Gold Cup race.