Steven Naismith is preparing his Heart of Midlothian side for Monday's Scottish Cup quarter-final clash with Greenock Morton at Cappielow. He previewed the game on Friday afternoon.

The Hearts boss spoke about refereeing, injuries, his future and what his team can expect from facing Championship opposition. 

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How is your squad looking for Monday?

Scott Fraser didn't train today but he will be fine. He was a bit fatigued on his calf but it's not sore. We just decided not to risk it rather than force him to train but he will be back on Sunday. Yutaro has a slight issue with his hamstring so he will be out. Calem Nieuwenhof will be out for a few weeks, Frankie Kent is still out, Barrie McKay is back in training but a couple of weeks away from being in squads.

Peter Haring?

His issue is a bit longer term. There is maybe a wee bit of surgery needed for him but we are still waiting to confirm that.

And Craig Halkett?

His situation is the most frustrating because he is sitting in no-man's land just now. The specialist we want to see is not about at the moment, so we need to wait for that. It's just a frustrating time for him.

Should Hearts get more credit for beating Celtic?

I don't really care if I'm honest. I know how well we played, I know how much we controlled the game. What we worked on when it was 11 v 11, we were good at. When it went to 10 v 11 the dynamic changed, but the way we dealt with every part of it was good. I'm really pleased with that. In terms of the noise round about it, everybody will have an individual agenda on what their feelings are. Like I said after the game, the penalties aren't penalties. The rules in terms of the Celtic one are saying that they are being given these days and there is a consistency in that. The player can't do anything. Does it impact what is going to happen in that next second? No, so it shouldn't be a penalty. The one we had given against us was never a penalty. If anything, we should be more annoyed about the penalty claims. I think the red card is a red card. I don't think there is malice in it but in this day and age, you can't put your foot face-high. It's not like Alex's head is down, he is standing at head height. There is noise created for whatever reason, but all this stuff is not going to help the game moving forward.

Would you like to play in this era?

No, because you can't get away with much now! I think I'd have had a couple of red cards. With anything new, it is going to have that element of frustration and things going wrong. With the way we are going about it, the progress is going to take so much longer because everybody is making a big deal about everything. Decision-making from referees and VAR needs to be better. Have some decisions been given that we don't like? Yes, but that's not the referee's fault. That's just the fault of the rules of the game. We really need to look at it. If it's here to stay, we really need to make it better.

Simplifying the rules would help?

Yeah and even with the offside I don't think it is unrealistic to say unless there is daylight it's onside. We score more goals, it gives everyone a clearer indication 'Yeah we can see daylight so it's offside'. So there are probably wee things like that can change but that's not the referee's fault. 

Do you think there is too much focus on refereeing?

No, because I think it should be there. It's what's valid and what's not. Referees do need to be accountable for how they referee a game, the decisions that get made. We've had gripes in some games. The one that should have been a penalty against Ross County, that's the biggest one that impacts us. We dropped points that day when we could have taken the lead from the penalty spot and the game is totally different. It is wrong, we are frustrated, we are annoyed. But it has happened. If I am sitting here at the end of the season and it's another game that's happened, I'll be pissed because they have not learned from their mistakes. As long as they are learning from their mistakes that's the biggest thing here we need to get behind to get us in a better place. 

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Taking all that aside, 2-0 was the least you deserved that day, it was a polished performance?

It was a comfortable performance. I've played in games against the Old Firm where panic sets in, we need to score so you start overcommitting and Celtic are still good enough to beat you and score goals. I thought we took a lot of the risk out of the game, took our moments well, kept the ball at the right times and as the game went on, Celtic were happy to go man for man at the back and us to attack and they have three. They just gambled that bit which inevitably is going to give them a bit of opportunity. But I thought overall it was a really good performance.

Does that game management stand you in good stead for cup football?

We've been sucked in at times, not this season, but when I was a player, sucked into poor game management which has cost us points. It's learning it, understanding it and recognising that we've got 90 minutes to score or it's two minutes to go, can we manage the game better? We don't need to be selfish, running through, a half-hearted shot because I want to score individually. It's learning but we are much better at it now. It will help in the cup for sure. The cup game will be similar to what we've played, different in terms of the type of game it is going to be but similar to the game against Airdrie, we are firm favourites, people are saying we are easily going to go through. For me, I understand the visual of it but I know how easy it can be to get caught up in it and before you know you are out of the cup. We'll not be expecting it to be an easy cup tie.

You have played at Cappielow before, can you pass that experience on to the players who haven't played there?

We've raised awareness of it, it's good we've got a few who have played in the Championship at Cappielow. I got put out in the cup with Kilmarnock there, I know how it feels. I know how you can go into a game and expect one thing and the way it is going to be. It's an old stadium that creates an atmosphere because their fanbase is good, especially on the far side. The tight pitch, it is all there to be a classic cup tie, an old-fashioned cup tie. I'm confident we can go and win it. 

Is cup football how Hearts teams are judged, winning things?

I think there is an expectation that you are certainly challenging for them. For me, personally, that's why I am doing it, I want to win trophies. I won trophies as a player and it's the best memories you'll have in your life. You can make loads of money, play at the highest level against some of the best players in the world, play international football but the best memories are winning trophies, without a doubt as a player. I want to do that as a manager. If you do it, I know how good a feeling it is that can drive you and spur you on. It can be a big moment for you to win a trophy. 

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Is that a case of you will be happy to get to Hampden in your first season as manager but there is no great point getting to the semi if you don't make the final?

In your first year, to get to two semi-finals is a good starting point but ultimately I'll not look back and go, 'That was good'. I want to win trophies. It is a drive I have got. It's a big part of why I am doing it. There are a lot of negatives, the uncertainty of your job, the volatility of the pressure and media scrutiny. All that is a negative of the job. The positive is you can be successful, win trophies and hopefully build something that lasts. 

A big thing about winning the cup, is it ensures no one else takes that group stage European football?

It plays a part, it means that you get that European spot, so that’s a good thing to have. But listen, the game against Morton will be tough. We need to keep the way we’ve been and the form we’ve shown. We need to have that going into it, manage the game well, hurt them at times that we can. and defend well. If we do that. we’ll get ourselves in the semi-final, which then brings the next challenge.

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Ann Budge was singing your praises and saying she hopes you will be here long-term. It's not often you hear 'long term' and 'management' together, is it?

Yeah, it’s good. If I’m honest, if there’s ever a club that’s going to be [like] that, and say that, it’s Hearts. I think that they’ve shown it in the past. Since I’ve been at the club, the people at the top are just desperate for the club to be successful and, when I speak about that, leave something that’s there that people say, ‘They were the ones that done it’. That’s all they want, they want it to be a progressive club that can challenge in all aspects, but constantly pushing.” I love being part of it, I’ve been part of it for a while, and there has been a vision from day one when I came in. The first conversation Ann had with me was, 'Tell me from your experiences, what’s good, what can we do better?'. That tells you everything you need to know from the first conversation, and as I’ve been at the club I’ve enjoyed every minute of it, it’s given me opportunities, and we’re in a good place”.

Is the Millwall link flattering?

It is what it is. The reasons I’m doing the job is that I want to be successful, I want to do certain things in the game. [If] you’re doing well, inevitably people are going to say stories are what they are, but ultimately I’ll decide what I want to do. If I’m successful, I’ll be the one that goes ‘Right, aye, this is right for me, it’s wrong for me’. I’m in my first year of coaching, I’m not naive to think ‘Oh, just go for the next one’. If you pick the wrong move, you’re done, simple as that. At the club, it’s a brilliant club. I appreciate everything I’ve got and I’m loving every minute here.