Steven Naismith spoke to the press on Friday afternoon ahead of Heart of Midlothian's Premiership clash with Celtic on Sunday. 

The Hearts head coach discussed Frankie Kent's injury, what his team need to do against Celtic, preparation when there has been three games in a week and Finlay Pollock's progression. 

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Frankie Kent's knee is in a brace and he's on crutches. How bad is the injury?

He had a scan yesterday (Thursday) and it will be a couple of weeks that we are talking he will be out which is disappointing but it's much better than what the outcomes could have been. It's the better side of it. The crutches and brace are more just precaution until we get that information we got after training. It's something we need to deal with. 

He wasn't involved in training?

No. There were a few who weren't out on the pitch. When you have a schedule like the last week, there are times, depending on the players' load, whether they will even be on the pitch or not. There are a few who never went out but they are not injured, it is more fatigue and seeing where they are at.

In terms of preparation, how long do you spend looking back and how long do you spend looking forward?

It's what is relevant to the next game or what is relevant to our main identity of things we need to do. We don't sit and debrief every game exactly the same. It's all about continuing to progress. If there are things we need to touch on then we'll touch on. At this time in the season, you have a fairly good idea of what you are coming up against with each team. It's small details. Everybody is used to that. It's the way we've worked since the summer and it's been good, everybody has bought into it.

Are you confident you have enough cover for Frankie?

It's disappointing because he's come in, we identified him in the summer as someone we needed and I think it has probably gone as well as possible in terms of our stats defensively, how we have performed, how he has performed individually. From that respect, it is really disappointing but it creates an opportunity for the others and I think we have got the cover. Kye has come back from the Asian Cup, Toby and Kingsley have played there so we've got enough players to fill in the position.

Does it give you an extra sense of belief and confidence the fact you have already defeated Celtic?

It definitely gives you a bit of belief that you can do it. Where Celtic were as a squad, being away from home, it's a totally different game to the game on Sunday will be. We've got to be totally focused and better defensively than we were against Rangers which I thought we were on Wednesday night because if not you'll give up chances and inevitably Celtic have the player that will cost you. On the flip of that, we must be better in possession than the first half on Wednesday night. We never kept the ball well enough, there was a rush to get rid of the ball or play the ball. We need to be better to cause Celtic problems. We've shown over the last three months we have a consistency level, we're comfortable in and out of possession and that gives us belief going into the game.

Does your game plan change slightly given Celtic have changed over the last week or so, they look more direct?

All these small details within every game are the things you've got to watch. You might need to press more aggressively or you can sit off at certain points. The game is going to be different. Celtic for 70 per cent of how they play is the same every week. It's that other part you need to make sure players are aware of, how we set our presses, how we are going to build in possession, those are the wee details we need to make sure we have got on point that will be different to the game last time.

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Does the game against Rangers act as motivation because it didn't go to plan?

It's the warning that if you don't defend well you are going to concede. That is what that warning was there. The second half of the Rangers game when the game was done we actually were better in the final third, we created more chances and had shots on target. These are the things you take from that game. We have got to see it as another opportunity to get points on the board and continue the good form we have been in.

How do you balance starting quickly against Celtic with not being overcommitted and having control?

It is a balance. In moments in the game, you can have that freedom to be aggressive with your pressing and you go after the ball. But that decision is made on the pitch when you sense they are vulnerable, a certain pass or the player is in a position where you can be that aggressive. It's a fine balance, if you are too open, Celtic will try to create chances and if they get a chance they have a good chance of scoring. Being at home you want to be able to stamp your authority on the game as quick as possible, not just sit off and be defensive. 

How are Liam Boyce and Barrie McKay's progression?

Barrie was back in training today, very early stages so he is still a bit away. Boyce’s rehab is coming on well but he had a small bit of surgery on his hamstring that he is now just getting past that first stage. Both recovering well but I would not imagine we will see them anytime soon.

How happy have you been with Finlay Pollock's development?

Really good, he has worked really hard. It’s one of the most tedious injuries you can have, tendonitis. He’s had to be really patient, we had a clear plan for him. He has played some B team games and looked really good, hence why he comes on in the derby because we felt he was a threat and could have produced something.

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He looks like he has bulked up and is more physically imposing?

He’s really powerful, really strong. He’s got that mentality of never-die attitude, loads of characteristics for him to have a good career. He’ll get opportunities, he just has to make sure he takes them. 

A bottle opener being chucked onto the pitch, that is no laughing matter is it?

That is not acceptable. It’s a great derby in Edinburgh, two passionate crowds. There is a line, I understand it’s a derby and there is adrenaline running but there is a line you don’t cross, or else it won’t last. I think a line was crossed with some of the stuff that was thrown. I’ve played in a game where a player has been hit by a coin in the face and the damage these things can do is not nice. Hopefully, we move on from it and there is no repeat.

You can take the verbals but endangering players' safety, it has to stop?

That’s the line, I think it’s gone a wee bit too far. The banter, the abuse - players giving it back to the crowd, that is part of the game. People can get badly injured and it’s too much. We’re fortunate that the stadium is brilliant, it’s close to the pitch and it's intense and creates a great atmosphere but it’s not worth it if it’s putting players' safety at risk.

Any update on Halkett and Oda? 

Yutaro is still out with a calf injury and Halkett there is no update as yet.