Naismith: Raith have been Hearts' toughest opponents

Hearts captain Steven Naismith says Raith Rovers are the toughest team Hearts have faced this season.

Friday, 30th April 2021, 7:00 am
Raith's Kai Kennedy takes on Hearts captain Steven Naismith (Photo by Paul Devlin/SNS Group)

Raith Dundee and Dunfermline all have the chance to join league winners Hearts in the top flight by negotiating a route through the Championship play-offs.

Naismith believes it would make quite a statement if one of those clubs succeeded.

“I don’t think the gap between the bottom of the Premiership and the top of the Championship is as big as what people would expect,” he explained.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

“What will help the Premiership teams is that they’ve probably got bigger squads, they’ve got more players to choose from.

"But overall the quality of the player I would argue it’s very tight.

“Raith are a prime example of that, Raith play very good football, they’re brave on the ball.

"They water the astroturf pitch and that suits the way they play and they’ll be confident.

“Very rarely have they changed their style of play to play anybody. If they were to make the [play-off] final I don’t think they would change their system and they would believe in what they do.

"We’re in for a good entertaining set of play-offs.”

Under former Hearts manager John McGlynn, Raith will secure second place in they beat Hearts tonight.

They are aiming for successive promotions having spent last season in League One.

“I must say I think they’ve been the toughest opponent we’ve had this season when we’ve played them,” Naismith added.

"They’re very well organised, they all understand it and you can tell there is a lot of work that goes into that,” said Naismith.

“They have a lot riding on Friday night. The three teams in the play-offs are all different in terms of the way they play.

"I think they’ll all sit there quietly confident they can beat the others in front of them.

"I think they’ll all fancy that they have a good chance.”