Striker Steven Naismith has his say on Hearts’ title win

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Steven Naismith insists it was simply mission accomplished for Hearts after Robbie Neilson’s side wrapped up the Championship title last weekend.

The Gorgie side greeted recognition of their league victory on Saturday with a minimum of fuss as Hearts sealed their immediate Premiership return with three games to spare.

Scotland cap Naismith eluded to the embarrassing Scottish Cup and Betfred Cup losses to Brora Rangers and Alloa as he admitted ‘some things could have been better’.

Hearts striker Steven Naismith is approaching full fitness | Hearts news
Naismith is the first club official to discuss the title win

But the experienced former Rangers and Everton marksman admits Hearts achieved their main goal of returning to the top-flight following last season’s bitterly disappointing curtailed campaign.

Naismith said: “It’s good that it’s finally done. Throughout the season and with the expectation, everybody just thought it was a formality but you have to respect the league and respect the teams you come up against. 

“There have been some things that could have been better but in terms of the league it was about getting the job done and we’ve done it with three games to go. 

“It’s good all round, it was expected and now the work starts straight away for what’s coming next season.”

Naismith, however, pointed out that some players still have personal targets. Striker Liam Boyce is keen to score at least another four goals, while defender John Souttar is desperate for game time after returning following 14 months out in last Friday’s 6-0 trouncing of Alloa.

Naismith, speaking to PLZ Soccer, said: “As players, you’re just wanting it done. 

“We’ve got it done and now everybody can relax and enjoy – everybody will now have their personal targets for the rest of the season. 

“Boycie (Liam Boyce) has 16 goals and wants to get to 20, Souttar is coming back into the team and it’s about game time for him so the personal milestones take over and just enjoy the last three weeks.”

Naismith, meanwhile, refused to confirm whether the Hearts players will actually lift the Championship trophy at their presentation on April 24 against Inverness.

Some fans have started a ‘Leave it on the stand’ online campaign as a protest against how the club were treated by the SPFL during last season’s controversial ending to the season.

Naismith added: “I’ve not heard too much on it but the best all round would be the Inverness game (for the presentation), our last home game.”