Gary Mackay believes Steven Naismith has proven that he deserves the chance to become the permanent Hearts manager.

And it appears that the supporters agree with the club’s all-time record appearance holder after they voted overwhelmingly in favour of Naismith in an online poll.

Of nearly 1,000 supporters who cast a vote on the Jambos Kickback website, over 80 per cent want the 36-year-old to be given the reins.

After stepping up from his B team role to replace the sacked Robbie Neilson on a caretaker basis last month, Naismith led Hearts to fourth place in the Premiership with two victories, three draws and two defeats from his seven games in charge.

Former Hearts midfielder Mackay, who was at Tynecastle on Saturday to watch the team hold on to fourth spot in a fiery 1-1 draw with rivals Hibs, said: “I think he wants to be the Hearts manager and I would be fully behind it. 

“Whatever decision the club comes to they need to do it quickly so that as much preparation can be put in for the start of next season.

"You can only go on what we’ve seen, the first game (defeat to Hibs) was always going to be difficult to turn things around so quickly. 

“Since then I can see that there is a structure to the play, there is a desire from some players that maybe wasn’t there at the tail end of Robbie’s time. 

“I don’t think Steven Naismith has done his chances of getting the job any harm at all. 

“He has a knowledge of the players, I’ve been critical of the youth system, he has a knowledge of that. 

“Will he be the manager that will be able to connect any decent youth players into the first team squad that maybe weren’t given a chance previously?

“I think there are a lot of positives in appointing him.

“The only thing that people can maybe say is that he has never been tested as a manager but how do you get tested? 

(Former Hearts manager) Alex MacDonald was never tested as a manager and we had good times under him.”

As far as the squad is concerned, Mackay does not believe that major surgery is needed this summer, especially with the likes of long-term absentees Craig Halkett and Beni Banigime recovering from their respective ACL injuries.

Of the existing squad, the Hearts hierarchy are also keen to keep Josh Ginnelly at Tynecastle.

Mackay added: “Craig Halkett when he comes back will be a bonus and Beni Baningime coming back will be a bonus. 

“Centre back and centre mid is an area that needs reinforced and it is the spine of the team. 

“Nobody knows what will happen with Josh Ginnelly. "Lawrence Shankland has had a great season, particularly when he’s played a lot of the time as a number ten and not an out and out striker so we definitely need a bit of support for him as well.”