Hearts captain Craig Gordon believes Steven Naismith could not have done much more in his interim reign and feels the squad would be happy for the former Scotland forward to get an extended run at the job.
The Tynecastle board are discussing the managerial vacancy this week, with some directors reported to be in favour in handing Naismith a permanent contract after he led Hearts to European qualification.
After succeeding Robbie Neilson on the back of five consecutive defeats which saw Hearts slip to fourth, Naismith won two and drew three of his seven games in charge as the Jambos finished three points behind third-placed Aberdeen.
Gordon, who was speaking at Camstradden Primary School in Drumchapel to highlight the work of the Scottish Football Association’s Learning Through Football programme, said: “He has stepped up for the last seven games and everybody within the squad has been very happy with the way things have gone and how he has gone about it.
“The players bought into everything he was trying to get them to do. He spoke really well in team meetings.
“I think the players would be happy with that (Naismith getting the job). We will see what happens over the next week or so when the board gets together and what options they have. But certainly I think he did pretty well over those seven games.
“He is very driven, and very clear in what he is looking for from the players. It’s been a big seven weeks for him to come in and the games we have faced but he has got a response from the players.
“He did a very good job. Whether he becomes the full-time manager or not, I think he can hold his head up high because it was a difficult time to come in, we were on a very bad run of form, and we managed to pick up a little bit and turn things around. From his point of view he couldn’t have done much more.”
Gordon played with Naismith for many years for Scotland before they linked up on the park with Hearts.
“As a player you absolutely saw he had that drive and the love of the game to go into coaching,” the goalkeeper said.
“He has always seen the game really well as a player and able to talk others through the game.
“He got into the B team at Hearts and done very well over the season and improved a lot of the players, and I think that’s a great sign as a young coach.”
Gordon is aiming to be involved under Naismith or a new manager after missing the second half of the season following a double leg break on Boxing Day, but he will not be fully fit for the start of pre-season.
“I have a big summer of rehab,” the 40-year-old said. “I will be working in the gym with the physios right throughout the off-season, and then I have got to go back and see the surgeons again in the middle of July and see how things are progressing.
“I will probably know a little more about how long it’s going to take after that.”