Greg Playfair, OorWeeChat podcast
At what point does Scottish football need to seriously discuss Steven Naismith as a Manager of the Year contender?
It’s quite the redemption arc for Naismith considering there were supporters – myself included – questioning if he was the right man for the job earlier this season.
It’s fair to say that he’s won back the support of almost every Jambo. Hearts are now unbeaten in 11 straight games since that defeat to Aberdeen in early December.
Put it this way, if the Gorgie Fish Bar was to start selling ‘humble pie suppers’ then I would be one of the first in the queue to buy one.
Last Sunday’s 4-1 win away through in Airdrie was one of the most enjoyable domestic cup ties I’ve watched since the 2012 run, and we could well have another Hampden trip to look forward to given the quarter-final draw against Morton.
The only negatives that you would pick out of that Airdrie game was the lack of clean sheet for Craig Gordon and the injury to Craig Halkett.
However, the positives were plentiful. There were improved performances from several players and in particular Calem Nieuwenhof, who put on his best display in a Hearts jersey.
Of course, as certain as night follows day, Lawrence Shankland took the pitch and scored twice, to take his tally for the season to 25 goals (24 for Hearts), which is just a phenomenal return for a player who does so much more than stand between the posts for tap-ins.
There’s so much positivity around Tynecastle that the half-time whistle might arrive on Saturday against Motherwell without any boos; the team and Steven Naismith have shown that they are more than able to handle adversity and turn round games if required.
It would be quite the crowning achievement for Naismith to be on the shortlist for top managerial gongs come the end of the season given many predicted he wouldn’t see it out in the Tynecastle hotseat.