SCOTLAND international striker Steven Naismith is adamant the managerial uncertainty at Hearts had nothing to do with their 5-0 walloping from Rangers at Ibrox yesterday.
The team is toiling in the aftermath of the sacking of Craig Levein and club owner Ann Budge’s search for a replacement is now in its FIFTH week.
Former Barnsley boss Daniel Stendel remains favourite to take over while Austin MacPhee is still in interim charge.
Naismith, speaking to the Scottish Sun, insisted: “This performance was not down to who was in charge.
“The team, as a whole, wasn’t good enough and didn’t defend well. That was the problem. The clarity will come when it comes.
“The club has made the point pretty clear that they are going to look for the right man rather than just a shotgun reaction to try to get someone in quick.
“We have enough experience in the squad that we should be able to deal with this. The games between now and Christmas will determine what happens this season for us as a club.
“As players, we need to fight for the chances we get. But what the squad needs to understand is that whatever manager is linked with us is going to be watching these games.
“It’s not as if they are going to turn up on day one without an idea on the squad.
OH, GEE…Hearts skipper Christophe Berra turns the ball into his own net for Gers’ third goal.
“Whether that happens this week or next, the players should be on their toes already.
“I train with them every day and I honestly think they are better than they are showing right now.
“I think a lot are low in confidence. There’s a lot of naivety in there and that needs to change. But it’s not going to change overnight.
“We need to work hard and start being stronger as a unit defensively.”
MacPhee, who lost 3-0 to Steven Gerrard’s Ibrox side in his first game as caretaker boss in the Betfred League Cup semi-final last month, added: “The uncertainty of the situation for everyone is something that needs managed very carefully.
“What I would say is that in the next period of time, Mrs Budge will make the right decision for the long-term future of the club.
“And we all know the importance of Hearts picking up points in the very busy Christmas period.”
The Tynecastle men were struggling almost straight from the off in Glasgow yesterday when Alfredo Morelos notched his 25th goal of the season with a header from close range and £7million winger Ryan Kent rolled in a second.
Skipper Chistophe Berra didn’t help matters when he diverted the ball into his own net for the THIRD time this season and Greg Stewart helped himself to a double as the opposing defence fell apart.