Hearts manager Craig Levein has confirmed that talks about a new “long-term” contract for Steven Naismith took a “step forward” this week – with another meeting set for next week as they try and tie the veteran down.

Naismith’s contract is up at the end of the season and Levein is hopeful of keeping the Scotland international in Gorgie.

GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - APRIL 13: Craig Levein, Manager of Hearts reacts during the Scottish Cup Semi Final match between Heart of Midlothian and Inverness Caledonian Thistle at Hampden Park on April 13, 2019 in Glasgow, Scotland.

(Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

The Jambos boss also admitted that it will be “touch and go” over whether Naisy is fit for next month’s Scottish Cup final – but insists getting his contract sorted out is the “priority.”

“We’re still working on a new contract for him. We’ve made another step forward this week and have another meeting set for next week.” Levein said, as quoted by the Evening News.

GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - APRIL 13: John Souttar and Steven Naismith of Hearts look on prior to the Scottish Cup Semi Final match between Heart of Midlothian and Inverness Caledonian Thistle at Hampden Park on April 13, 2019 in Glasgow, Scotland.

(Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

“It will be touch and go whether he makes the cup final or not. We’ve still got a bit of time.

“But the most important thing for me is that we can get Steven signed up on a long-term contract and I want him to be in good health when we start next season. That becomes a priority.”

Naismith has missed 18 games through suspension or injury so far this season but is still the Jambos’ top goalscorer with 14 strikes to his name.

20th January 2019, Tynecastle Park, Edinburgh, Scotland; Scottish Cup football fourth round, Heart of Midlothian versus Livingston; Referee William Collum speaks with Steven Naismith of Hearts about his slide tackle on Dolly Menga

(photo by Alan Rennie/Action Plus via Getty Images)

That shows just how important to the Tynecastle side the Scotland international is and why Levein is so keen to secure his future.

If he does make the final against Celtic on May 25th, the former Rangers star could just be the difference between the two sides.

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