Steven Naismith: Hearts 'will improve' with striker fit again - Craig Levein

By Brian McLauchlinBBC Scotland
Craig Levein shakes hands with Steven Naismith
Craig Levein's side have missed Naismith's influence in his eight-game absence

Hearts will welcome back fit-again striker Steven Naismith in Saturday's Premiership match at Aberdeen.

The 32-year-old has been sidelined since suffering a knee injury 11 minutes into their League Cup semi-final against Celtic on 28 October.

Craig Levein's side have only won one of their last eight matches, and scored only four goals, without Naismith.

"It's been good to hear him barking on the training ground like he has been doing for the last year," said Levein.

"I think everybody is just happy to see him back. He is such a good professional. He understands football and he has been through periods when things are difficult. He has done it before and he can help.

"We now have (defender) Christophe (Berra) back and we have Steven back on Saturday and that will help us without a shadow of a doubt. It's not like bringing a young player back into the group who has been out injured.

"Take out Friday's result [a 5-0 hammering at Livingston] and our previous three results have been better and our performances have been better with Christophe back in the team.

"With Steven coming back it will be the same, I've no doubt about that. We will improve."

Naismith scored 11 goals in 16 games for Hearts this season before his injury.

Hearts were top of the Scottish Premiership in early November, but a run of five defeats in those last eight games has dropped them to fifth place.

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