Celtic players were on the receiving end as Naismith put himself about at Hampden
Kris Commons says Stevie Naismith can count himself fortunate not to have been sent off in Sunday’s Scottish Cup Final at Hampden.
The Hearts forward fought a running battle with Celtic captain Scott Brown throughout the match, and received a yellow card in the second half.
His combative style helped unsettle an unconvincing Celtic defence, with Neil Lennon’s men squandering 2-0 and 3-2 advantages during 90 minutes and then extra time.
Some, however, took issue with the manner in which 34-year-old Naismith put himself about in pursuit of victory.
Commons, who made 227 appearances for Celtic after joining in 2011, felt Naismith could have had no complaints had referee John Beaton shown him a red.
Speaking in the Daily Mail, Commons said: “Naismith has history in this particular area. In May 2018, he was given a two-match ban for a stamp on Brown during a match at Tynecastle.
“He was extremely fortunate to stay on the pitch yesterday. It’s bizarre because, away from the pitch, you genuinely couldn’t meet a nicer boy. But he has a real nasty streak in him as a player.
“He overstepped the mark yesterday and it typified Hearts during the first half. Beyond the Naismith stamp, you had Andy Halliday getting booked for a wild challenge on Brown.
“You then also had Craig Gordon having a bit of a meltdown after Odsonne Edouard’s dinked penalty with Gordon getting up and literally throwing the ball in anger at the Celtic striker.
“Hearts lost their heads collectively and were far too emotional, which was a major reason behind why they started the match so slowly.
“They were almost too fired up. They played right into Celtic’s and Brown’s, hands. Knowing him as I do, Brown would have absolutely loved the fact that Hearts were targeting him.
“He revels in that sort of stuff. The video of him laughing in Halliday’s face summed it all up. Brown is a wind-up merchant and a former Hibs player, so it’s no surprise he revels in lording it over Hearts.
“The fact that Naismith and Halliday were on the opposing side would only have made it all the sweeter as he racked up another trophy.”
Naismith converted his spot-kick in the shootout, but saves from young keeper Conor Hazard to deny Stephen Kingsley and Craig Wighton helped Celtic secure a historic quadruple treble.