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Steven Naismith ends Hearts loan spell on a sour note

PUBLISHED: 16:20 10 May 2018 | UPDATED: 16:41 10 May 2018

Steven Naismith has accepted a two-match ban for a challenge on Celtic's Scott Brown. Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Steven Naismith has accepted a two-match ban for a challenge on Celtic's Scott Brown. Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

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Steven Naismith will miss the final game of his Hearts loan spell after accepting a two-match ban for his lunge on Celtic captain Scott Brown.

The Norwich City midfielder headed the winner in the Scottish Premiership 2-1 derby win over Hibernian on Wednesday at Tynecastle, despite the threat of a suspension looming after being charged by the Scottish FA.

The 31-year-old had until Friday to enter a plea, but Naismith has accepted the punishment for a full-blooded challenge on the Bhoys’ captain that was missed by the match officials last weekend, which rules him out of the final day league trip to Kilmarnock.

Naismith recently admitted he would welcome a return to Edinburgh next season if he is not part of Daniel Farke’s plans approaching the last 12 months of his Canaries’ contract.

The former Everton midfielder fell out of favour under Farke and has been unable to establish himself as a key figure at Carrow Road since a big-money move from Goodison Park in January 2017.

The Scottish international scored four goals in 14 loan appearances for Hearts - none more important than his derby clincher after setting up Kyle Lafferty to open the scoring.

“It was a big win,” he said, speaking to Hearts’ official site. “That was the big end to the season for us, in terms of out of the fixtures that were left, that was probably the one that meant the most to everybody involved.

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“It was important with it being the last home game, and probably how the season’s panned out, that a performance was put on. We produced.

“In the last couple of derbies there’s not actually been that much football played but in spells last night there was a bit more.

“It was probably a combination of the pitch being better and us being better.

I was sitting at the front and Lewis Stevenson was in front of me and I knew that if I could make contact with him to get him to put it in there then I knew it would probably go there.

“He’s put a great ball in and I’ve managed to get on the end of it.”

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