STEVEN NAISMITH has no intention of changing his combative style when Hearts take on Celtic in the Betfred League Cup semi-final at Murrayfield tomorrow.

The 32-year-old Scotland international striker has infuriated the Hoops support in the past in off-the-ball incidents with Scott Brown and Jonny Hayes.

Naismith said: “Noising up opponents? That’s a given!

“I’ve been on the other side, the one being wound up, and I know how it feels, it is just part of the game.

“I don’t know if some guys are surprised by the change in me when I step onto a park.

“The biggest thing is when you play against somebody – then you go into the national team and they’re your team-mate.

“There’s that awkward moment when you think: ‘Right, how is he going to take to me?’

“Look, everybody who knows me and understands what I’m like. I think there definitely are two different characters there.

“That’s probably just down to a winning mentality, being competitive and wanting to win.

“I’ve had more than 30,000 Celtic fans trying to wind me up before. It’s football.

“To be honest, you don’t really notice it on the pitch, home or away.

“Maybe there are odd moments when you win a corner, you get that surge from the fans. For 90 per cent of it, you are too focused on the game.

“Half the things that fans do or say, people talk to you about it afterwards and you say: ‘I don’t even remember that happening’.

“It will not change how I’m going to play, anyway.”


About Author


Acclaimed author Alex Gordon wrote the biography of Scotland international legend Denis Law, entitled 'King and Country'. He is a former columnist with World Soccer magazine and Scottish correspondent of respected European journal L'Equipe.

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