Steven Naismith remains convinced that VAR’s introduction has been a positive for the Scottish game – but the Heart of Midlothian head coach admits that further patience is required before the kinks have been fully ironed out.

The video replay system found itself under the microscope earlier this week when the VAR Independent Review Panel announced on Thursday that 13 decisions that used the technology were incorrect – a significant increase on the three errors picked out by the panel for the first round of Premiership games.

Four of the 13 wrong calls involved Hearts, and three of those went against the men in maroon when they shouldn’t have. Naismith, perhaps more than any other top-flight manager, has every reason to be one of VAR’s loudest critics.

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And yet, Naismith believes it is a force for good. He concedes that it has its downsides and that further progress is required, but remains confident that replays are allowing officials to get more big decisions right on the whole.

He said: “Ultimately, is it good for the game or is it not? I think it's good and that's from my position as somebody who is associated with a team where the decisions impact us first-hand. I think we've been one of the teams that have been hit by the issues if you like, more than most in the league. But as the stats say, we are getting more decisions right than we did before [correct decisions have risen from 89.3 per cent to 97.6 per cent].

“If we never won a cup on the back of a bad decision that VAR could have helped, that's not good for me. It impacts the value and entertainment for fans, 100 per cent, but for me, we need to get better decisions. The bad decisions haven't been VAR, it's the decision-making and the consistency level of that. And when something is new, that's always going to happen.

“I think we need to look at that at times because some of the decisions have been really poor - or the outcome of the decisions have been really poor. So I think it's more about that but I think we also have to give it time, give it time to get better, how we maybe use it and that there might be a better set-up in some way.

“There's also been a lot of people's individual agendas suiting to throw mud at the system and the process when every club knows what the process is. 'Oh why is this not happening and why is the guy not saying into the earpiece'.

“All those comments are just fuelled by individual agenda. It's not fuelled by fact or understanding of what the process is for every decision. It takes a bit longer at times, yes, but until it's slick and we've got the experience, it's going to take time.”

READ MORE: Steven Naismith provides Hearts injury update including positive Halkett news

Hearts host Motherwell this afternoon as Naismith’s men look to keep the team’s momentum going. The men in maroon have won 10 of their last 11 games in all competitions – December’s 2-2 draw at home to Ross County is the only blot on the form book – and will be hoping to build on their 12-point lead over Kilmarnock in fourth with another victory.

Striker Kyosuke Tagawa suffered a concussion in training and will not be a part of the matchday squad, leaving Naismith a little short of options in attack, but there was a positive update relating to Craig Halkett. The centre-back, who returned from an 11-month injury lay-off in December, picked up a knock during Sunday’s 4-1 win over Airdrieonians and was brought off midway through the first half – but Naismith has no concerns about its severity or the defender’s long-term fitness.

“We don’t know because he is still going through the process but he has had a scan and it looks like the detail of that is positive,” Naismith explained. “But I think the whole thing around Halks’ injury is still wrapped around his main injury that he was out with.

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“Players come back and people see them on the pitch and go, ‘they’re back, they’re 100 per cent’. That’s not how it works. If your body hasn’t done something for nine months and then you’re asked to get back to elite level, there’s going to be dips within that recovery. This season is about getting him back out onto the pitch and getting as many minutes as he can and having an impact on the team – which he already has.

“He will have to come out the team at some point. Whether it be for performance level, niggly injuries, how intense the schedule is. As long as he gets to pre-season and he has had a block out on the pitch and in training, that’s been a successful return.”