Steven Naismith rued the ‘naivety’ of his Hearts team as they went down to Celtic, saying that his men were punished by the ‘big players’ at the disposal of the ruthless champions.

Naismith was pleased with many elements of his side’s performance at Celtic Park, but said that his team have to be more clinical at both ends of the field if they are to take the next step in the their development and close the gap on the Glasgow giants.

“The timing of the first goal was poor because if we’re 0-0 and we play the way we did, the atmosphere in the ground changes,” Naismith said.

“But we give them the lift of an early goal. Celtic are probably the most experienced team in these situations in the league. They use it well, their big players are coming back and getting fitter every week.

“So, when you give them assistance they’re going to punish you. But I’m taking some big positives from our players because we were brave on the ball and played through them at times. The only thing that was missing was a goal or two.

“We started off really well and it was two teams who were comfortable enough on the ball. The difference probably was that we didn’t take our chances and they did. In games, goals change the dynamic.

“We concede the first, which was a poor, poor goal from us as we’ve got the best defensive record from set plays, so quickly in the game. I then thought we got a hold of the ball and created some chances.

“You can come to Celtic Park and not create any chances, but we had some really good chances. They don’t go in, either through a good save or us not doing well enough.

“The second goal we’ve got 100 percent possession and can’t give it up. We give the ball away too cheaply, we’ve not got a good structure and it’s a simple goal for Celtic.

“When you’re going to do that it makes it an uphill challenge. But I thought there was a lot of good stuff from us.”