'Lembikisa arrival and Shankland stay positives for Hearts'

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Brian McLauchlin, BBC Sport Scotland

I suppose only after the January window closes late on Thursday evening can we fully establish if it has been a success for Steven Naismith and the club.

But as I write this column, there has been positivity in the market on two fronts.

Naismith said from the outset the signing of a right-back was his priority and Dexter Lembikisa has had a positive impact on the team since his arrival from Wolves on loan.

His home debut last week against Dundee was very impressive and the fact he was able to notch a goal in the second-half comeback gave an indication he was not frightened to go into the opponents box when required.

The other positive aspect has been the determination by the club to hold on to Lawrence Shankland.

The 28-year-old may well have aspirations to earn more money in what is undoubtedly a short career. And why wouldn’t he? But to do so there have to be interested clubs, and as things stand none have initiated talks with Hearts.

Shankland will move on at some stage, probably the summer, but until then it looks like he will have to focus on scoring goals for Hearts and earning a spot in Steve Clarke’s Scotland squad for the Euros in Germany.

Next up for Hearts is a very tricky trip to Dens Park; as we witnessed last week Tony Docherty has his team playing some very attractive football. This will be a real test.