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Steven Naismith issues Hearts nearly men warning as Jambos boss offers Craig Halkett injury hope

Steven Naismith wants back to Hampden for success this time as no-one remembers the nearly men.

The Hearts boss set his sights on a National Stadium return after his side dismissed Airdrie to set-up a quarter-final against Morton. Boss Naismith was gutted this season when losing a Viaplay Cup semi-final to Rangers. As a Hearts player, he was also shattered at close shaves and agonisingly lost a Scottish Cup Final on penalties to Celtic.

Naismith wants another crack to avenge those painful near-misses and said: “One of the disappointing games of our season was the semi-final of the last cup, so we want to get to another semi and beyond this time. In next round, the carrot is dangled for going back to the national stadium, then it’s about a performance. Even during my time at the club as a player, we went to last rounds and were two penalties away from winning one. We’ve been close, but no-one remembers the close ones. It’s the winners.”

Naismith’s team will have to come through a test at Cappielow to make it and he said: “The demands are there. Everybody in the last eight thinks they have a chance. Going away to Morton, people will think we’re favourites, but others will think there’s potentially an upset there.

“If we’re not at it it’ll be difficult. They showed on Friday [against Motherwell] they’re in form and they have a manager with an understanding of what he wants. A lot of our players have been in the Championship, so we know what we’re going to.

“You need to have the main foundations of your performance at a top level, otherwise you give yourselves problems. So we need to get that right to go as far as we can.”

Hearts, who had Craig Gordon in goal for a second start since his 13 months out, cut through the