Football

Steven Naismith Says He Turned Down Kilmarnock Return Over Artificial Pitch

Steven Naismith Says He Turned Down Kilmarnock Return Over Artificial Pitch

Steven Naismith has revealed he refused to consider a return to boyhood club Kilmarnock last month because of the Ayrshire club’s controversial artificial home surface.

The Scotland international joined Hearts on-loan from Norwich City on a deal until the end of the season, with Killie and Rangers also said to be in the running for his signature.

Still only 31, signing a player like Naismith would’ve been something of a coup for Steve Clarke’s side, but playing on AstroTurf every second week simply wasn’t something the forward wanted to consider.

Naismith has suffered several serious knee injuries throughout his career, and speaking on last night’s edition of BBC Radio Scotland’s Sportsound, he explained: “The biggest thing in that was AstroTurf.

“Somebody at my age, having the injuries that I had, it’s something that I never really wanted to consider.

“And as much as I appreciate Kilmarnock so much for what they done for me when I was younger, that would be something that I would never consider.

“I didn’t really consider too many Scottish clubs.

“I’ve spoken to him [Steve Clarke] on and off over the years and certain times over the years.

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“He’s a guy who has done fantastically well and it was always tongue and cheek saying, ‘oh I’d love to get you back’ and things like that.

“But I had never really seriously considered it solely for AstroTurf. For me, in Scottish football, every club should be in grass.

“People talk about VAR, goal line technology… let’s get grass pitches first and work from there.”

Naismith played more than 100 matches for Killie before leaving for Ibrox back in 2007 and a return to Rugby Park would’ve seen his career come full circle.

But what do you think of his comments? Do the Kilmarnock board need to get rid of their artificial surface as soon as possible?

Let us know in the comments section below…

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