BARRY ROBSON forced Aberdeen to give him the managerial job.
Steven Naismith can only do the same with the Hearts by knocking the Dons down to third place.
Personally, I can’t imagine that’s going to happen.
The Jambos were absolute frontrunners at the beginning of this season and were able to assert themselves as the best. Not now.
Since taking charge of Pittodrie, Robson has changed things enough that they are now certainly hoping to finish third.
There’s a five-point gap between the teams and I can’t see that gap widening with three games to go.
Naisy will see tomorrow’s clash at Tynecastle as his big chance to close the gap.
He’s managed four games so far and got four points, which isn’t bad, but he’s running out of time and I’m afraid it’s too late.
The way I see it, his chances are of getting thatBeyond this season it depends on finishing third.
Even then it will not be safe. It must be possible that Hearts has already made up his mind and decided it’s not for him just yet.
Look, I didn’t watch Hearts every week.
Maybe your fans will tell you that the team is playing much, much betterwhen they were under Robbie Neilson I don’t know.
But the rankings don’t lie.
This Hearts team showed resilience, taking a point against St Mirren last weekend when they were down to ten points.
But it’s not as if Naisy has put together a case as unmissable as Robson.
What a job he did as a janitorseven games in a row.
He’s not naive, he will have known that the club was looking for a new manager at that pointthey wanted, he most certainly wasn’t.
But he pushed the issue single-handedly.
He’s brought in the right men, with Liam Fox being an inspirational appointment considering he knows the league and is said to be a top manager.
Steve Agnew, my old Middlesbrough manager, brought invaluable experience as his right-hand man.
Craig Samson has been around as a goalkeeping coach and he’s always been someone who makes the people around him better.
You just can’t fault Robson for anything.
He did an excellent job of handling the media side, saying the right things before and after the games.
Out of nowhere, the Dons scaled the table and their supporters returned to Pittodrie in droves.
There is a real feel-good factor in the club again and they want to build on thatSeason.
This season, it was the Hearts who raked in around £5m in Europeand as it is, so it will be the money next semester.
I have been extremely critical of the way the Dons have been run as a football club in recent years.
But the only thing you can guarantee is that when they get the money, they’ll spend it on the team.
Robson has shown he can also be smart when it comes to signing players.
The first thing he did in replacing the sacked Jim Goodwin was to sack captain Anthony Stewart and sign midfield pair Mattie Pollock and Angus MacDonald.
A team that delivered 15In four games in the last two weeks of January, they have conceded just two goals in their last eight games. That’s excellent.
Obviously Duk andMiovski was the player who made the most headlines with his goals.
But Pollock and MacDonald were the key men.
It proves to the Aberdeen board that Robson knows what he’s doing when it comes to player recruitment and can be trusted when it comes to signingsShould they have extra money to spend?
But Naisy isn’t sure.
Don’t get me wrong, whatever happens between now and the end of the season, he’ll still have a role in Hearts.
Maybe it’s just too early for him.
He won’t think about it that much as he seemed to want to grab his chance with both hands.
I’m just looking at Hearts as a club at the moment and can’t really say what’s going on.
Their results plummeted after a really positive start to the season.
It seemed to me that their players slipped too easily into a comfort zone when they got good bonuses to top up their salary. But there were also problems outside the park.
The way Neilson was fired left a sour taste in my mouth. There was something wrong with the way it was being handled.
I also didn’t like the way Robert Snodgrass was shown the door, that didn’t work either.
It is not yet clear what exactly happened there, but there is no doubt that it will happen at some point.
In the meantime, Hearts players must do their besttoday to achieve a result that will keep their season alive.
They could finish third and it will be a sensational finish. Or fourth and everything will be fine.
But there’s also the prospect of Hibs catching them and they end up finishing fifth, which would be an advantagefor the team, for the club and for Naisy.
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