Steven Naismith will take charge of his 50th match as Heart of Midlothian boss since stepping in as interim head coach 12 months ago when the team face Livingston at Tynecastle Park on Saturday.

The 37-year-old reflected on the last year when he sat down with the press at the club's Oraim training base on Friday afternoon. 

Naismith discussed the challenges, what he has learned, looked ahead to the future and picked out the result that gave him the most satisfaction.

Read everything he said below:

READ MORE: He's done things we never expected: What we've learned from Naismith's year at Hearts

What's the latest with Lawrence Shankland, Calem Nieuwenhof and Beni Baningime?

Everybody that's been ill is back and had a full week's training. So we're in a good place with that. Finlay Pollock has had a full week of training too so he's pushing to be back in contention. The only three we have out are [Liam] Boyce, who is back out on the pitch doing warm-ups and other bits which is good, [Craig] Halkett and [Peter] Haring."

How is Craig Halkett?

Everything's done. He's now on the road to recovery. There was an issue with timings and getting to see the specialist, there was a small bit of dead time which couldn't be helped. News-wise, the recovery is the best we could hope for so his recovery and build back up will be quicker than we thought before, which is brilliant news for us. There's no real pressure on Halks and I'm conscious not to put pressure on him. If he gets minutes before the end of the season, that's positive. But the main thing is he is fully ready for a full pre-season.

How important was it beating St Mirren without Shankland?

It was important to win the game because it was St Mirren, not because Lawrence wasn't playing. That's probably more of an external thing. I've said all season I'm confident in the squad we've got. Shanks has had an unbelievable season which has kept him in the team. But if he wasn't available, I was always comfortable with who would come in. Kenneth [Vargas] has got more consistent as the season's gone on. It was a hard game, a battle, but overall I felt comfortable and content in the game.

This week marks 12 months since taking interim charge, has the first year as boss been harder than expected?

It has been harder but probably not for the reasons you'd expect. Family life, my wife and kids have suffered a lot. That's the hard part for me and the part I'm still trying to deal with. Football-wise, it's probably went as I'd expected. There are slightly harder moments in terms of conversations you need to have, decisions that need to be made and problems that come up.  They're the things you don't see even when you're a coach. When I've been away with the national team, the manager has one-to-one conversations with players and you get feedback on how that went. But you're not directly involved in that. It's the same here with Hearts. There are details that need to change, they're the parts you can't learn before. You have to learn them on the job. They've been the most difficult parts, but it's all within reason. I've been comfortable. It's been enjoyable, but it is intense and the family life is the part that suffers.

Does it take more of your time than expected?

Everybody says to you being a manager is a 24/7 job. And you think at the time you understand that. But when you're in this environment in the football department of a club, it's not like any other business. It's reactive, it's now. It's not two days from now. We don't switch off at 6pm and think we'll get that in the morning. To be successful at any club, that environment has to be created. We've created that and that's why we have progressed as well as we have this season.

READ MORE: Hearts semi-final tickets: 16k sold, allocation risk, why fans shouldn't sit it out

Can you ever switch off?

Not really! Slightly more now than I did at the start, but still not really. I'm that type of person, if I want something done I want it to be done now. My wife is used to it, comfortable with it and my kids have got to that stage now. You do have family time but things then happen. I get a phone call on Friday night saying 'Shanks is ill', that's then reactive and needs to be dealt with.

Are there any managers you have spoken to over the past year for advice on how to manage that?

I've asked the question. I've probably mentioned it to a lot of managers I have come up against. It is whatever works for you. I'm good friends with Russell Martin and he is somebody who is as close to me in terms of family life, not long in a job, same type of character. He basically turns his phone off and has a day to himself and the family. I'm not at that stage yet but I imagine we'll get to that point eventually.

You have the football side, the family side, is there anything you can do just for yourself?

Nah, you give it all up. I've learned that. I'm a keen golfer and I've not golfed for two years. That is what you want to do. You hear managers say 'Your handicap goes down when you get the sack'. I can understand that. You choose what you want to do and I want to do this. It's really intense, it's really demanding but I enjoy that more than I enjoy golf so I'll keep doing it as much as I can.

READ MORE: Hearts, the 'mental stat' and how three-decade hoodoo was consigned to history

What have you learned about yourself as a coach these past 12 months?

There are some better coaches here than me. If I'm honest, Gordy and Frankie and their experience, I'll let them lead it because they are better at delivering it than me. I understand that it is a team game. I understand the picture in my head of how I ideally want it doesn't mean I need to do everything. I've had managers that do both. I'm a very hands-on person and I do get involved but there are times when you need to say best person for the job do it. That and that you are not going to make every decision right. That was me as a player. I was never the best prospect, I learned and very rarely made them again and again. It's the same in management. I said early on that I was going to make mistakes but I better learn from them and I think I have. 

Do you enjoy the intensity of this part of the season?

Yeah because it is the business end. It is defined. I get asked all the time about the table, you are in sixth place, it's September. Aye, but look at the table now. You start to have more of a focus on the endpoint and the achievement of the season. We have got our fingertips on third. I want us to get as many points as we can. Can we get that confirmed and done and the semi-final? These are big games. I still think we have a long way to go to feel comfortable consistently being here. We've got loads of work to do but being in the two semi-finals this season is a brilliant start. I want us to do better than we did in the last one and go in with real belief that we can win it. Getting third and getting that signed off, that comes by winning on Saturday and going into the split not needing to win too many more games.

Hearts Standard:

Does that come from consistently getting to the semi-final?

Yeah. Me as a player made mistakes, learned from them, got better. When I moved from Kilmarnock to Rangers I was uncomfortable. When I went into the Scotland squad I was really uncomfortable, felt you don't deserve to be there. The more you are there, the more you thrive on it. It's the same as a team when we are getting into Europe, dealing with Europe and the league, dealing with the latter rounds of cups, winning cups. It is the same thing. The more you are the more comfortable you get. 

The team have made progress over the last 12 months but what is the next step on the pitch?

I think it's hard to define because if you get to the start of next season and if all our achievements are achieved, we have group stage football, and Europe in itself if we don't change anything, that becomes harder. Group stage is one big thing we would need to deal with and we will suffer. I think this season looking back at games, we haven't killed teams off as much as I would have liked at times when we have got ourselves in good positions. I think if you do that, or if you can get that where you get out of sight in games, the jump in belief and confidence is a bigger jump than the jump we have had this season. Because the confidence is there, 'we know this is comfortable for us.' Everything becomes easier so if we get to the point of killing teams off... even on Saturday, we had two chances, one with Kenneth and the one with Cammy. If we score that, the last 10 or 15 minutes of games are comfortable. We haven't done that enough so that is another target we will want to try and push to next if we can.

What has been the most satisfying result?

The one that comes to mind I enjoyed was Motherwell away [2-1 win]. I think it was because it was an assured performance. It finished 2-1 and could have been 3-1 or 4-1. We played well, a lot of what we worked on was good. Kilmarnock away was one as I know how tough it's been. There is no one significant I look at. It's the games you see on the pitch that we have worked on and you go, 'It's worked.' That brings the best joy for me.