Steven Naismith for Scotland recall? - Rob Maclean's weekend review

Steven Naismith
Steven Naismith scored his third goal of the season as Hearts beat Aberdeen 2-0

BBC commentator Rob Maclean provides his take on another weekend of Scottish football action.

Naismith worth another cap call

Steven Naismith could be a striking solution to Scotland's lack of options in attack.

He won the last of his 45 caps in the 1-0 win against Slovenia at Hampden a year ago and, despite not featuring in the first squad named by Alex McLeish, I reckon it would be wrong to write him off.

Thirty-one-year-old Naismith, on loan at Hearts from Norwich, is getting sharper game by game and proved he hasn't lost his ability in front of goal with a classy finish in the 2-0 defeat of Aberdeen on Saturday.

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Highlights: Heart of Midlothian 2-0 Aberdeen

He's probably best utilised off the front but he knows all about leading the attack as well.

Oli McBurnie played that position for Scotland against Costa Rica last month and Matt Phillips was the solo striker against Hungary in Budapest.

Both played with promise but I wouldn't be ruling out an international recall for Naismith ahead of the end of season friendlies against Peru and Mexico.

Dons need to reverse trend

As the Scottish Premiership splits in two, Aberdeen will clearly need to make a dramatic improvement in their recent record against top-six teams if they're to win the battle for the runners-up spot.

Only 15 of the 62 points the Dons have totalled so far this season were picked up against sides finishing in the top half of the league table. That's 15 out of a possible 45.

Derek McInnes
Derek McInnes is targeting a third successive second-placed finish

They've lost six out of six pre-split games against Celtic and Rangers and failed in three attempts to beat Hearts.

Aberdeen's only wins against top-six opponents, four of them, have come against Hibernian and Kilmarnock.

That's disappointing form against the better teams but, if Derek McInnes and and his team can clinch second place and win the Scottish Cup in the next six weeks, no-one's going to be scanning those stats too closely.

Candeias quite a capture

Pedro Caixinha's ill-fated seven months in charge at Rangers did much more harm than good.

He did, though, bring young Colombian Alfredo Morelos to the club and the 18-goal striker has made an obvious impression.

Under the radar in comparison has been another of Caixinha's signings, Daniel Candeias, but the 30-year-old Portuguese winger has rapidly become a Rangers fans' favourite.

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Highlights: Rangers 4-0 Dundee

He hammered home his seventh goal of the season and set one up for Morelos in the 4-0 home win against Dundee on Saturday.

His right flank collaboration with James Tavernier is one of the strongest elements of the Rangers team with the consistent Candeias proving to be a more than useful acquisition.

Can Kettlewell keep County up?

Stuart Kettlewell looks like he could be masterminding Ross County's great escape bid from on the pitch rather than off it.

The 33-year-old former County midfielder still appears fit enough to play but it's his management and coaching skills that have helped the Dingwall team's chances of survival.

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Highlights: Ross County 1-1 Hibernian

Under Kettlewell's guidance, County won the SPFL Development League last season and, when Owen Coyle departed from his duties with the first team last month, it was he who stepped up to take charge along with academy director Steven Ferguson.

Between them, they've played a big part in the rise and rise of Ross County over the last 20 years or so and you don't have to spend too long in their company to appreciate how much they want to keep this small town team in the big league.

The next five matches will decide their fate but beating Partick Thistle 4-0 then drawing 1-1 with Hibs on Saturday has certainly bolstered belief.

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