Hearts boss Steven Naismith says the latter stages of their 2-0 win over Aberdeen were ‘probably the most comfortable’ he has felt with a game in the balance during his time in charge at Tynecastle.
The Jambos had a 2-0 lead as Aberdeen made changes and brought on new attackers to try and impact the game but the home defence were solid and kept their opponents at bay. It was a hugely pleasing team performance for the head coach who felt they have reset well after the international break and are getting back to their best.
He said: “A really good afternoon. In one respect we need the break mentally to reset and just take stock of where we’re at and what we’ve done this season. I think, especially in the European games, our performance level has been really good but then the challenge of being at a club looking to challenge at the top end of the league is that when you come back to domestic games you must win and we never dealt with that well enough in the European run.
“It was about resetting, we then managed to work on something on the pitch we needed to reset and understand again. I think our defensive set up has bee good but in the last few games we gave up some cheap goals. Today was back to where we expect it to be, I thought we were really solid and then when we have that energy, press right, make the right decision and win the ball and play forward we cause teams problems because we have real quality.
“The biggest thing for me today is that it was a real collective thing, some of the subs that game on have not had a lot of minutes and found it tough but they came on, do really well and impacted the game. It’s probably the most comfortable I’ve been at the end of a game (since I took charge) when it’s still alive with it being 2-0.
“Bravery and confidence with the ball is the most important thing for us, each game has small details that are different. The game against St Mirren next week will be really different to today but we need to trust we’re good players because when we do that we cause team problems.”
Meanwhile Aberdeen boss Barry Robson also praised Hearts for keeping his side at bay while also acknowledging their need to improve.
He said: “ I didn’t think there was much in it in the first half we lost a goal from a deflection and could have been better in the attacking third and the defensive third. When you’re not at your best on both sides, that’s what cost us today.
“We made changes, went three rather than two at the top end of the pitch, we tried to get the freshness on and give us a spark but we have to give Hearts credit today, they defended well and we need to be better in both boxes.”