BY ALAN TEMPLE – @CCP_Sport
SCOTLAND star Steven Naismith insists he will look back on his reception at Goodison Park as a career highlight after coming back to haunt former club Everton.
The 30-year-old enjoyed a poignant return to Merseyside with Norwich as he received a hero’s welcome, before going on to score the second goal in the Canaries’ 2-0 EFL Cup win.
In a “surreal” moment, Everton supporters even applauded the strike which sent their club crashing out of the competition, while Naismith chose not to celebrate.
“It was surreal and just sums Everton up as a club,” said the former Kilmarnock and Rangers forward, who enjoyed three-and-a-half years with the Toffees.
“It is a fantastic club with very special people at it. I had some fantastic times here and [Tuesday] was a lovely send-off.
“I didn’t celebrate because the supporters are more than just fans – they have helped me in my career, I have enjoyed some of the greatest moments in my career with them. It was a strange situation.
“It really was a special moment and one of those nights than, when I look back on my career, I will reflect on and think about just how good a moment it was.”
With Norwich challenging towards the summit of the Championship and Scotland facing a crunch World Cup double-header against Lithuania and Slovakia next month, Naismith hopes his Goodison heroics kick-start his campaign.
He has struggled for form since a high-profile £8 million switch to Carrow Road in January, scoring just one goal as Alex Neil’s side slipped to relegation from the top-flight.
And, prior to Tuesday’s fixture, he had not featured for Norwich since a 3-0 defeat against Birmingham on August 27.
“The manager makes decisions about who plays and you need to respect that,” he told Norwich’s YouTube channel. “But when you get the opportunity you need go out and perform well.
“I didn’t expect not to be in the side, and I thought I started the season okay – there were a couple of games where we didn’t play well as a team – but I suffered by not making the team recently, which is a hard situation.
“However, I have dealt with that and I will continue to be professional and work hard. I came to Norwich to do well and try to help the club improve – I’ve had some great experiences at top clubs and if I can bring that to Norwich, that’s the aim.”