Rookie Naismith needs to prove he can be a quick learner - analysis

Martin Watt, BBC Sport Scotland

Whether anyone every really bought that Steven Naismith wasn't still running things in his shortlived 'technical advisor' role at Hearts is doubtful.

But now Hearts' dalliance with European football is out the way for this season, Naismith is officially front and centre as the club's permanent head coach.

It's a huge job for a rookie manager - and a "proud moment" for the former Tynecastle and Scotland striker - but he has to prove he can be a quick learner.

Pressure is already building after an unconvincing start to the season. The high-tempo, attacking football of Naismith's interim reign late last season - which brought just two wins from seven but encouraging signs - has been sorely lacking in turgid recent performances.

Hearts headed into the international break on the back of four successive defeats, including a 6-1 aggregate hammering by PAOK in the Europa Conference League play-off.

The Tynecastle men have gone three Premiership games without mustering a goal in a kind run of fixtures against Kilmarnock, Dundee and Motherwell.

The next batch of opponents is less favourable and includes Aberdeen, high-flying St Mirren, Hibs, Celtic and Rangers.

With fans already growing restless, Naismith must effect a notable improvement to ease the disquiet and start to show the club's gamble on him can pay off.