Date: 23rd June 2007 at 1:20pm
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How refreshing it was to hear young Steven Naismith’s words this week regarding the Old Firm’s interest in him.

Naismith, who has risen to prominence over the past couple of seasons with a series of excellent performances for Kilmarnock, has become one of Scottish Football’s most sought-after players, with both the Old Firm clubs, Hearts and teams in England being linked with him since the end of last season.

We have seen the usual Old Firm tactics since then, with Rangers putting in an absolutely derisory offer for the player in an attempt to unsettle him and force Killie to sell at a knockdown price. Then we’ve heard about Celtic’s late attempts to hi-jack the deal, something that they tend to do for pretty much every Rangers target these days!

But surprisingly, Naismith remains a Kilmarnock player (for the time being at least) and even more surprisingly for a young player in Scotland, he has spoken publicly about his reservations on a potential switch to Glasgow. He said:

‘I don’t want to go to a team where I’m not going to play every week.

‘It would be a step back if I was to go to a team where I would be sitting on the bench or not even involved.

‘I believe in my ability and, no matter what the team, if I go there, I’m thinking that I’ll be able to play every week.

‘If I’m good enough in training, I would expect to be playing every week.

‘I’m not going to sit here and say ‘I want to move to Rangers’ or ‘I want to move to Celtic’ because that’s not the case.

‘The move needs to be right for me and everybody around me.’

Good on you, son. For far too long, young talents in this country have signed for one of these clubs as soon as the big chequebooks were flashed in their face and as a result, have never fully given their careers the chance to develop properly.

Just consider what the likes of Paul Ritchie, Allan Johnston, Kenny Miller or Stephen Pearson could have turned out like if they’d had just a bit more savvy instead of jumping ship without considering whether they’d be first team players or not in Glasgow. And I know it’s perhaps not too late, but even the likes of Derek Riordan and Kevin Thomson probably know that they moved too early as well.

So while Steven Naismith may yet move to one of the Old Firm, it’s nice to hear that he will only do so if it’s to the all-round benefit of his career, not just his short-term bank balance.

If more players start to develop this sort of mature attitude, then the Scotland national team can only benefit.

 

9 Replies to “Steven Naismith – Respect”

  • He wouldn’t be guaranteed a game at Hearts either. I agree though, sounds like he’s taken a leaf out of Craig Gordon’s book & has his head firmly screwed on. Do think he needs to move though, as he needs European experience which he’s never likely to get at Killie.

  • If he believed in his ability he would 1- Earn a move to Rangers (or celtic, then 2- Force his way into the first team squad. If he doesnt belive he can do this, I wouldnt go anywhere near him

  • There’s believing in your ability and being realistic, though. You could turn that argument around and say that if he truly does think he’s good enough, then he can stay at Killie for another 2 years and he’ll still get his chance to move. Others like Riordan, etc just went as soon as they got the chance, probably thinking it wouldn’t happen again.

  • Riordan went for the money not because he thought he wouldn’t get the chance again. The thing is, its easy for people like us, that are making in a year what these guys make in a few weeks to criticise people going for the money. If you got offered a job paying what they get paid you would wouldnt jump at the chance??

  • Depends if they are thinking long term or not. 3-4 years on a subs bench is not going to do your career any good at all, even for a few bucks during that time. These guys have a lifestyle that they will want to maintain after they retire from playing. One contract with the OF isn’t going to sustain that.

  • That’s exactly my point SJ. Riordan went for money yes, but if he genuinely believed in himself he’d know he’d get the chance again and waited at Hibs for a while to improve as a player first. Instead he’s set himself back a year. I appreciate it is difficult to turn down because you may get injured, etc but sometimes it does pay to bide your time and wait for the right move at the right time.

  • I believe riordan was being forced out of hibs for being a troublemaker though, so he was always going to accept any offer to celtic

  • Well that is definitely possible – rumour has it that’s one of the reasons he’s hardly played for Celtic. He’s perhaps a different case then, but a lot of other guys have moved to these clubs at the wrong time and paid the price…….career-wise anyway.

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