Naismith: I still have targets at international level

first_imgSteven Naismith has set himself the goal of firing Scotland to Euro 2020 – and breaking the 50 cap milestone in the process.The 32-year-old striker believes Alex McLeish’s team has a strong chance of qualifying for next year’s continental showpiece tournament, after topping their Nations League pool last autumn.The on-loan Hearts star needs just one more cap to break the half century and enter the national team roll of honour.Naismith said: “As a player who has been in the national team for a while, it has been tough because we have had some good campaigns that ended in failure. “You sit there so jealous that these guys have done what you are striving to do.“I also was old enough the last time we made it to a major tournament, in France, to see just how great an atmosphere it creates in the country.“I personally think we’ve got a real, real chance with the quality of players we have got in the squad. Now we have to fulfil that potential and take into the European group.”Naismith spoke to STV at Hearts’ warm weather training camp south of Murcia in Spain as Craig Levein’s side gear up for the second half of the season.New striker David Vanecek and on-loan defender Conor Shaughnessy joined the squad for the first time during the trip, and Naismith linked up with Czech forward Vanecek for the first time on Friday afternoon as Hearts lost 1-0 to Belgian side Lokeren in a bounce match near Alicante.The 27-year-old Vanecek scored seven goals in 16 appearances for FK Teplice before concluding his move to the Tynecastle men but Naismith is urging supporters not to expect too much too soon.Naismith, who has held talks with Levein and owner Ann Budge over signing a permanent deal at Hearts when his Norwich deal expires in July, said: “[Vanecek] is definitely a player who excites the fans but I think we just need to keep the reins on yet and let him settle in.“First of all he needs to get up to speed with fitness. He’s been playing in a league that’s maybe not as intense as the [Premiership].“But in the short time he’s been here he has definitely shown some qualities. He sees pictures on the park and he brings others in to play. As a forward those are good attributes to have.“This week [in Spain] will probably benefit him more than most – he’ll come in, work hard, and get to a state of fitness where he is ready to contribute for the team.” “I see a real opportunity with this group of players and I managed to get my head down and work hard and force my way back in to the international team.“On a selfish note I’m getting close to 50 caps which ideally I would like to hit.“There is a lot for me to still achieve at international level and if I could finish it off by getting to a Euros it would be fantastic.“It has been [way too long]. I have had close quarters of seeing all the other home nations that are my teammates making it.last_img

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