Naismith hat-trick gives ill Hearts boss Levein perfect tonic


Glasgow (AFP) – Steven Naismith’s first-half hat-trick maintained Hearts’ perfect start to the Scottish Premiership season in a 4-1 thrashing of St Mirren on Saturday and provided some comfort to unwell boss Craig Levein.

The former Scotland manager was rushed to hospital on Monday and was unable to take his place in the Tynecastle dugout as he is recovering at home.

The hosts, though, ensured it wasn’t a nervous afternoon for Levein watching from afar despite Jimmy Dunne’s own goal cancelling out Naismith’s opener from the spot.

Naismith set up Olly Lee to restore Hearts’ lead and then added two more in two minutes before the break.

With Celtic and Rangers facing off in the first Old Firm derby of the season at Celtic Park on Sunday, Hearts now enjoy a five-point lead at the top of the table as Edinburgh rivals Hibs and Aberdeen fell to their first defeats of the season.

Livingston’s decision to dispense with the services of Kenny Miller after just two league games as player-manager already appeared justified as they came from 1-0 down to beat Hibs 2-1 and register a second straight win under Gary Holt.

Aberdeen were forced to play with 10 men for 85 minutes after Michael Devlin saw red early on against Kilmarnock.

And the visitors took full advantage at Pittodrie through Eamonn Brophy’s free-kick and former Aberdeen forward Greg Stewart.

Miller was snapped up as a player by Dundee this week but they remain without a point at the foot of the table as his debut ended in a 3-1 defeat to Motherwell.

St Johnstone were also 2-1 victors at Hamilton.

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