Naismith Promises A Different Hearts Against Celtic And We May Have To Play Without Callum.

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Some expected stuff today … and one dark bit of thunder out of a clear sky.

First up, fresh from overseeing a proper doing for his club at Ibrox, Steven Naismith has promised that Hearts will not be quite so weak or gutless against Celtic, and you know what folks? I actually believe him. That was as predictable as the rising of the sun.

Just as many of us knew that he would make damned sure they weren’t leaving Ibrox with anything more impressive than a hard luck story (“We’ll learn from that,” was actually the best he could come up with after the defeat) we knew we’d see a completely different attitude when it was Celtic they were coming up against. There would be no press conference full of praise for our manager and talk about how much Naismith was learning from him.

Sunday is going to be massive, because his team will make it massive. They will contest every 50/50 ball in a way they didn’t last weekend, they will make us fight for every inch we move up the field. There is zero prospect of their collapsing without at least trying to have a go, because this guy wants to beat us far more than he was interested in talking points from his favourite club, under his new daddy. There’s nothing here we didn’t expect to see.

Scottish football is full of ex-Ibrox men and Ibrox sympathisers, but there are only a handful of them I didn’t trust as far as I could throw them when it came to coming up against that side. The Phil Mitchell of Livingston, David Martindale, is one of them. I used to laugh at the idea that Neilson would ever take points from them, and then there’s Derek McInnes.

I said in an earlier piece that McInnes has more professional pride than to have his teams lie down to them, and they lived up to that on Wednesday; they gave them one Hell of a game in total contrast to Naismith, whose side barely registered a shot on target.

The really bad news today is that Callum might not be fit for it as he’s nursing an achilles injury. It only amazes me that in a season of players going out for long spells that it has taken the captain so long to pick up one. He’s like a machine, but even the hardiest tech breaks down if you run it long enough and few players in Europe have played more games.

It is obviously a huge and worrying blow, and not what any of us wanted to hear. They’ll assess him in the next 24 hours, the manager says, but in the end I think we’re strong enough to go there and win regardless. Naismith will obviously not roll over for us, but I wouldn’t expect that from any manager. It’s our job to make their lives hard, not their job to make ours easy.

Without the captain, that’s a tougher prospect again. But this is why you build a squad and between Iwata, O’Riley and Bernardo we have the stuff to get the job done. There are no free rides to be had here, and there never were, not for us anyway.

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  • Clachnacuddin and the Hoops says:

    No surprise with Naismith and also that old ugly boot that owns them will probably have had him well briefed on her demands as well…

    But regarding CalMac – This was always coming down the pipe…

    Far too many games was always gonna take it’s toll on him –

    It was one of the reasons that I didn’t want Scotland to qualify for Euro 2024 as if CalMac is selected as he will be it’ll be another summer of no rest and fatigue will undoubtedly set in next season and as always Celtic will be the ones to suffer (That opinion doesn’t go down well with the many Scotland lovers on these shores around here may I add)…

    The other reason that I didn’t want Scotland to qualify was because of the joy and the jollies that The Rancid SFA will glean from it (albeit that opinion around these shores is a good bit more acceptable than fatigue concerns next season for a Celtic player) –

    And no doubt Steve Clarke will throw him in for a full 180 minutes in two utterly meaningless friendlies for Scotland during the rancid and unwanted international break impending to the third week in March…

    The only wee chink of light in that is that it might just break Sevco’s momentum – Hopefully !!!

  • Kevan McKeown says:

    Will be a blow if Calmac has tae miss out. Naismith, aye, as if we didnae know it would be the case. They’ll play this game like a Scottish cup tie. Two games ye could probably stick yer house on rangers gettin a win. Hearts and Livingston. The hearts mob came close tae an ibrox result earlier in the season, when league positions were obviously still very tight. Now they’re on ‘safer’ ground league wise, the bias and sheer lack of professionalism shows. A disgrace tae their own support. Far as pablo martindale goes, another one blatantly guilty of changin his teams tactics when he plays the ibrox club, hopefully it’s good riddance at the end of the season.

  • Roonsa says:

    Ach listen. I never pay attention to any of this stuff. If Naismith told his players to not try so hard at Ibrox then it wouldn’t take long for some disgruntled player to let it slip. It didn’t happen.

    Regardless, we can’t control that so there’s no point in getting worked up about it. What we can control is how we perform against them. They didn’t beat us at CP because they were trying harder than they do at Ibrox. They beat us at CP because we were utter shite.

    Celtic owe us for that display and if they don’t produce it I won’t be pointing the finger at laughing boy for telling his players to get stuck in.

    • Clachnacuddin and the Hoops says:

      For all their lying down at Liebrox last weekend…

      It was without a shadow of a doubt Cheats with whistles, flags and monitors that utterly robbed Naismith and Hearts there in the Autumn showdown at that bastion of bigotry !

    • Kevan McKeown says:

      @ Roonsa. It’s no somethin ah’ve just noticed. It’s an opinion built over seasons of watchin the same pattern wi that mob. Ah don’t think naismith, or any other manager, actually TELLS them not tae try hard. Tho if there are players in that hearts side, who don’t look committed durin that game, which there frequently seems tae be, ah don’t think he’ll dae much about it. Because we cannae ‘prove’ it’s goin on, unless somebody actually ‘does’ say it, disnae mean its no happenin. The same goes for bent officials.

      • Roonsa says:

        It’s because we cannae prove anything that I don’t take any notice. Because it just starts to resemble a Twitter echo chamber where conspiracy theorists tell tales of pizza parlours being a hub for devil worshipping, child eating cults for powerful politicians.

        Do you think that other lot don’t have similar tales about us? I suggest you Google “penalty to rangers” and read an article by four lads had a dream. Try not to put your foot through your phone as you read it repeating the big lie about them being relegated to the fourth tier. But also consider some of the points made regarding penalty stats. I don’t know if they are true but the point is they are believed.

        For me, when we are in the ascendancy, that’s when to troll that lot with gripes of opposition teams lying down and dodgy refs. We now find ourselves in the unusual position of not being in the ascendancy. If Celtic don’t win anything this season, it won’t be because of nefarious skulduggery, even if it does exist.

  • Pan says:

    Naismith did the usual lying down against the Ibrox mob. He won’t repeat that against us.

    • Roonsa says:

      You forget that Naismith doesn’t play football anymore. He can’t lie down. The only thing he can do in that regard is tell his players to ease up.

      Do you honestly think he did that?

      Teams can lose 5-0. It does happen. We lost 6-0 against Atletico. Did we lie down to them?

      Please, everyone, stop being so ridiculous.

      • James Forrest says:

        I honestly do think he did it.

        And you think a manager can’t lose a team a game?

        If you know how a rival manager approaches a match it’s an absolute piece of piss to set your team up in such a way as to make the game hard for yourself. Naismith’s team will finish third; his board thinks that’s a triumph. If he didn’t feel like putting in a proper shift against them who do you think cares at that club?

        I’ll tell you who; nobody who matters. Yeah, I do think it.

  • Joe McQuaid says:

    If a manager were to do that then I think they run the risk of losing respect from the dressing room. I’m convinced that’s what happened to Neilson last season when he sent out an unrecognisable team at home to TRFC. Their season then went downhill and he left. But let’s just focus on our game – hopefully with Hatate coming back soon we will have scope to rotate/rest the midfield.

  • Gerry says:

    We all know where Naismith’s loyalties lie, and their performance last Saturday at Ibrokes was as disgraceful as it was totally expected! He’s a snivelling Sevco cheerleader with a Hearts badge on his coat.
    Whatever the opinion of performances v his favourite team, he’ll have his team treat tomorrow like a cup final !!!
    It’s a two horse race, and will be for many seasons to come, unless Hibs, Aberdeen and some of the others get their act together ( highly unlikely!)
    We can’t ( allegiances & officials,) and should never have to rely on others.
    We shall win this title ( hopefully,) through our own efforts and merits !

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