Former Rangers & Everton striker admits he turned down Championship offers to make return north of the border


Hearts striker Steven Naismith admits he turned down the chance to remain in the English Championship to head back to Tynecastle on loan.

The Scotland internationalist sealed his season-long return from Norwich on Friday after spending the second half of last term – scoring four goals in 16 appearances – with Craig Levein’s side.

Naismith’s decision to make the switch back across the border has also effectively brought his six-year stint in English football to an end, with his contract at Carrow Road due to expire next summer.

(Pic: Hearts FC)

And the 31-year-old, who left Rangers for Everton in 2012, admits a return to Scotland was more appealing that remaining in English football’s second tier.

He said: “I had offers in England, that was there if I wanted it but I’ve never been one to say, ‘ach, I’ll just do that’. 

“They were offers from the Championship but it never went in to too much detail because it wasn’t really something that I was interested in in all honesty. 

“I actually sat and thought about my next move and this was the one that suited me best. 

“When you are a youngster it is all about driving to be the best you can and play at the best level and make the most money you can. 

“As you get older those things are less at the high end of the list compared to your family life and what you get out of football. 

“There were no negatives last season and that was partly to do with how the gaffer manages us older players and also with what the club gives back in terms of facilities, the stadium, players and what they want your role to be.

“I still know I can play at a high level and if I can bring that to Hearts then hopefully we can be successful with the rest of the squad.”

Naismith scored six goals in 33 league starts during what was an injury-interrupted two-and-a-half year spell as Norwich’s record £8 million signing and also fell out of Scotland recognition.

But the 45-times cap is also hoping to battle his way back into national team manager Alex McLeish’s plans.

He added: “I still feel good. I learned from Sylvain Distin at Everton in terms of how to look after yourself.

“It’s more about maintenance through the year more than anything else and I still want to play for Scotland.

“The manager wanted me to go away in the summer (with Scotland) but I had a niggle with my Achilles that I wanted to be right for the summer rather than gamble on it. 

“If I can start the season well I will definitely look to be involved if I can be.”