Steven Naismith is relaxed about his Hearts contract talks as he believes he will “probably” play at Tynecastle next season.
The 32-year-old is expected to sign on with Hearts when his Norwich contract expires after spending 18 months on loan with Craig Levein’s team, but talks have gone on for several months with the manager and owner Ann Budge.
The Scotland international is not looking elsewhere though and is targeting being fit for the new season following knee surgery.
Naismith, who was at Hampden to launch the search for the latest Scottish Football Hall of Fame inductees, said: “As I’ve got older I am pretty relaxed about it.
“I have enjoyed it so much there. It looks probably where I’ll be playing, but a lot of the things within a contract just take time. Hearts are going to look after themselves when they are investing in someone my age, and I’m going to look after myself.
“The process is what it is, you need to just go through it. I’m sure it will get concluded at some point. That’s the intention. Until it’s signed, you are not going to turn around and say it’s definitely happening.
“Ann and the gaffer are talking and saying the right things but we want to get that middle ground we are all happy with.”
Naismith scored 14 goals in 27 appearances last season for Hearts, who relied heavily on the former Rangers and Everton player.
He was comfortably their top goalscorer and Hearts won two-thirds of games he played in, and only a quarter during his two spells on the sidelines.
But there was no prospect of Naismith or the club rushing him back for the William Hill Scottish Cup final, which they lost 2-1 to Celtic.
“It was written off pretty early,” Naismith said. “Just taking everything into consideration, from age, the type of injury, what my future plans are in terms of how long I want to play for, it would probably have been too risky.
“I’ve got a programme now for the next four to six weeks. My big intention is to be ready for the start of the season. I have worked over most of the summer.”
:: Steven Naismith was at Hampden to launch the nominations for the Scottish Football Hall of Fame. The public can nominate their football personality at sfmhalloffame.co.uk. Tables for the dinner on October 27 can be secured by calling 0141 620 4040.