Hearts manager Craig Levein has insisted that he is “quite relaxed” about not having Steven Naismith available for this weekend’s crucial clash with Aberdeen – although admits he would rather have had his talisman available for the Tynecastle clash.

The veteran striker is still recovering from a knee operation but Levein is confident the other strikers at his disposal can step up and fill the gap left by Naisy.

EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND - FEBRUARY 10: Craig Levein, Manager of Hearts looks on prior to the Scottish Cup 5th Round match between Heart of Midlothian and Auchinleck Talbot at Tynecastle Stadium on February 10, 2019 in Edinburgh, Scotland.

(Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Levein admits that he isn’t as worried as he was earlier in the campaign when Naismith was hurt and praised Craig Wighton for his recent performances in Naismith’s absence.

“I’ve got Uche, MacLean, Vanecek and Keena. Also, I think Wighton has done well in the last two or three games,” Levein told the Edinburgh Evening News.

17th March 2018, Tynecastle Park, Edinburgh, Scotland; Scottish Premier League football, Heart of Midlothian versus Partick Thistle; Steven Naismith of Hearts celebrates his sides second goal

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

“I’d rather have Steven available, of course, but I don’t feel like I did earlier in the season that there isn’t a solution there. I’m quite relaxed about it.

“This issue only arises because we aren’t scoring as many goals as we were earlier in the season.”

The Jambos would close to gap to Aberdeen to only three points if they can beat Derek McInnes’ side on Saturday and would put themselves right into the mix for European football next season.

23rd October 2018, Dens Park, Dundee, Scotland; Ladbrokes Premiership football, Dundee versus Heart of Midlothian; Steven Naismith of Heart of Midlothian applauds the fans as he was substituted

 (photo by David Young/Action Plus via Getty Images)

After losing to Hamilton in their last outing before the international break, Levein’s side will have a point to prove against Aberdeen.

With clashes against Rangers and Hibs next up before the split, a win against the Dons could give the Jambos some real momentum for their next few games.

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