With Hearts not out of the race for Europe, the Jambos will be encouraged with the return of their talisman – Steven Naismith.

Even on a dull Boxing Day fixture against Hamilton Accies, he’s screaming at teammates to get to the ball first. Then he coolly scores the opening goal in a comfortable 2-0 win. It’s the little things that make him. You need only look at Hearts’ form without the Norwich City loanee to say that he’s the main man.

With Naismith being the Tynecastle team’s top scorer in the league with eight so far, he’s also registered three assists. He’s also firmly back in the Scotland fold, having scored competitively against Albania in the UEFA Nations League and in the friendly against Portugal.

Hearts have won 10 of 14 league games when Naismith has played, only losing twice. Without the 32 year-old, as a result of his injury in the Betfred Cup semi-final, they have won just once in seven matches. Alarmingly, they’ve lost five of those.

He’s played at the highest level down south, for both Everton and his parent club. Therefore he makes an excellent tutor for the plethora of young emerging talents at Tynecastle to learn from.

Whether he’s eager to stay in Edinburgh remains to be seen, and he’s available on a pre contract with his Canaries deal set to expire. What is a certainty is that Hearts will look to do everything in their power to keep him.

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