Scottish Premiership
Hearts4St Mirren1

Naismith bags treble as rampant Hearts hammer St Mirren 4-1 to stay top

Media playback is not supported on this device

Highlights: Heart of Midlothian 4-1 St Mirren

A Steven Naismith hat-trick inspired Scottish Premiership leaders Hearts to a thumping win over St Mirren.

Naismith struck all three of his goals in the first half while providing a lovely assist for Olly Lee.

The hosts remained in command in a goalless second half, although John Souttar had to clear off his own line.

Jimmy Dunne's own-goal was the only blot on Hearts' copybook as they recorded their fourth win from four league outings.

The Tynecastle crowd paid tribute to manager Craig Levein, who is recovering at home after being taken to hospital on Monday.

St Mirren remain second-bottom with three points.

Dominant Hearts bare their teeth

This Hearts team can hurt you in so many ways. The speed and trickery of Demetri Mitchell, back on loan from Manchester United. The colossal power and boyish enthusiasm of Uche Ikpeazu. The guile of the wily Steven Naismith and Steven MacLean.

They've lost last season's top scorer and go-to man for the big stage, Kyle Lafferty, but their attacking threat remains undiminished.

Levein's summer overhaul has yielded a squad capable of thriving in the blood-and-thunder sphere of Scottish football.

They can load up the box and hoist balls towards Ikpeazu. They can play through the middle, with the imposing Peter Haring winning the ball and sending Naismith and Lee surging forward. They can go wide, Mitchell, Ben Garuccio and Michael Smith charging up the flanks.

They scored a variety of goals here; some scrappy, some excellent.

It started when Ikpeazu was felled by Lee Hodson and Naismith rolled home from the penalty spot.

The massive striker then found Naismith with a looping header, and his sumptuous cushioned flick was patiently and emphatically finished by the onrushing Lee.

Naismith pounced on some abject Saints defending to score his second from a corner, then cruised onto Haring's pass and bobbled in his third amid more highly questionable defensive positioning.

If there is a chink in Hearts' armour, it is their full-backs' defence. Smith and Garuccio were repeatedly outfoxed, leading to St Mirren's goal. Better teams will punish Hearts more severely.

'Perfect tonic for Levein' - analysis

BBC Scotland's Brian McLauchlin at Tynecastle

If Levein needed a pick up after his health scare at the start of the week then his players certainly delivered at Tynecastle.

Naismith has now notched seven goals so far this season but it is his all-round play that has been particularly impressive.

And the addition once again of Mitchell could prove to be one of the best signings of the summer.

The 21-year-old was playing in a slightly further forward role than he did last season on the left flank and his pace was a constant threat throughout the game.

There will be few, if any, positives for St Mirren as they head back along the M8.

Defensively they were all over the place and Stubbs will no doubt be asking questions regarding the space allowed throughout the game to the home strikers.

With only three points from their opening four games, this already looks as if this will be a long, hard season.

'I hope fans aren't suffering from vertigo' - reaction

Hearts assistant manager Austin MacPhee: "The main thing was that we put a performance in for the manager. We want him to be relaxed in his recovery and not feel he has to run back in the door.

"It's very early days. We are delighted with our form just now. I just hope the supporters aren't suffering from vertigo."

St Mirren manager Alan Stubbs: "It's not as if the opposition are completely cutting us open; we're contributing significantly to our own demise at the moment.

"They have to learn very quickly. I don't want to point the finger individually - that stays private - but we have to do far better."

Line-ups

Hearts

  • 1Zlamal
  • 2Smith
  • 4Souttar
  • 3Dunne
  • 17Garuccio
  • 11MitchellSubstituted forMorrisonat 60'minutes
  • 8LeeSubstituted forSutchuin-Djoumat 74'minutesBooked at 77mins
  • 5Haring
  • 14NaismithBooked at 80mins
  • 18MacLeanSubstituted forWightonat 76'minutes
  • 19Ikpeazu

Substitutes

  • 7Bozanic
  • 10Sutchuin-Djoum
  • 13Doyle
  • 15Wighton
  • 20Cochrane
  • 23Mulraney
  • 38Morrison

St Mirren

  • 1SamsonBooked at 77mins
  • 21Hodson
  • 19Jones
  • 15Baird
  • 24Kpekawa
  • 3CoulsonBooked at 86mins
  • 7Magennis
  • 4McGinn
  • 22WillockSubstituted forFlynnat 74'minutesBooked at 88mins
  • 10SmithSubstituted forMullenat 79'minutes
  • 9Brock-Madsen

Substitutes

  • 8Flynn
  • 18Mullen
  • 23King
  • 28MacPherson
  • 29O'Keefe
  • 39Erhahon
  • 46Muir
Referee:
Kevin Clancy
Attendance:
17,714

Match Stats

Home TeamHeartsAway TeamSt Mirren
Possession
Home63%
Away37%
Shots
Home30
Away10
Shots on Target
Home7
Away4
Corners
Home10
Away1
Fouls
Home13
Away15

Live Text

Match ends, Heart of Midlothian 4, St. Mirren 1.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Heart of Midlothian 4, St. Mirren 1.

Attempt saved. Daniel Mullen (St. Mirren) left footed shot from a difficult angle on the right is saved in the centre of the goal.

Foul by Steven Naismith (Heart of Midlothian).

Daniel Mullen (St. Mirren) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Uche Ikpeazu (Heart of Midlothian) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Foul by Ryan Flynn (St. Mirren).

Attempt missed. Craig Wighton (Heart of Midlothian) header from the centre of the box is just a bit too high.

Peter Haring (Heart of Midlothian) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Daniel Mullen (St. Mirren).

Attempt missed. Callumn Morrison (Heart of Midlothian) right footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the left from a direct free kick.

Booking

Ryan Flynn (St. Mirren) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Djoum (Heart of Midlothian) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Ryan Flynn (St. Mirren).

Attempt blocked. Ryan Flynn (St. Mirren) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

Attempt missed. Jimmy Dunne (Heart of Midlothian) left footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the right from a direct free kick.

Booking

Hayden Coulson (St. Mirren) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Callumn Morrison (Heart of Midlothian) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Hayden Coulson (St. Mirren).

Foul by Uche Ikpeazu (Heart of Midlothian).

Ryan Flynn (St. Mirren) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Attempt missed. Hayden Coulson (St. Mirren) left footed shot from the centre of the box is too high.

Attempt blocked. Ryan Flynn (St. Mirren) left footed shot from the right side of the box is blocked.

Attempt missed. Uche Ikpeazu (Heart of Midlothian) right footed shot from the centre of the box is too high.

Steven Naismith (Heart of Midlothian) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Lee Hodson (St. Mirren).

Booking

Steven Naismith (Heart of Midlothian) is shown the yellow card.

Foul by Ben Garuccio (Heart of Midlothian).

Ryan Flynn (St. Mirren) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Substitution

Substitution, St. Mirren. Daniel Mullen replaces Cameron Smith.

Booking

Craig Samson (St. Mirren) is shown the yellow card.

Booking

Djoum (Heart of Midlothian) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Foul by Djoum (Heart of Midlothian).

Ryan Flynn (St. Mirren) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Substitution

Substitution, Heart of Midlothian. Craig Wighton replaces Steven MacLean.

Attempt missed. Callumn Morrison (Heart of Midlothian) right footed shot from the left side of the box is too high.

Corner, Heart of Midlothian. Conceded by Alfie Jones.

Attempt blocked. Steven Naismith (Heart of Midlothian) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

Peter Haring (Heart of Midlothian) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Cameron Smith (St. Mirren).

goal

As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Hearts4400102812
2Kilmarnock42114137
3Livingston42115417
4St Johnstone42114407
5Celtic32014226
6Hibernian41216425
7Rangers31206425
8Aberdeen412134-15
9Motherwell411268-24
10Hamilton410337-43
11St Mirren410339-63
12Dundee400427-50
View full Scottish Premiership table

Top Stories