A very good player. A brilliant kid. A world-class moaner. Of all the attributes that Billy Brown assigns to Steven Naismith, he is in little doubt which one he had the biggest influence in helping him develop.

“He was learning off the two best moaners in Scotland at the time in myself and Jim Jefferies,” Brown said, referring to the spell that Naismith spent under their tutelage as he broke into the Kilmarnock first team as a youngster.

How far Naismith took his playing career came as no surprise to then Rugby Park number two Brown, with his dedication to wringing the very maximum from his abilities among the best he ever saw in his long coaching career.

Similarly, he isn’t surprised to see Naismith now stepping into a dugout with which he too is very familiar, having been assistant to Jefferies in two spells at Tynecastle.

So, knowing the man and knowing full well the job he is taking on, Brown is perfectly placed to judge how Naismith will fare as he takes the first steps in his managerial career in such a high-profile position.

“I would have thought that with the attributes he has and the will to work, that will stand him in good stead,” he said.

“Going into coaching would have been the natural progression for him, and going into that job – though it’s a big job and a hard job – I think he will approach it with relish.

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“He always thought deeply about the game, but Naisy’s biggest attribute was that he always gave one hundred percent in every training session, every game, and in everything that he did.

“I’m not saying that he was the most gifted football player, but every attribute he had he used it to the maximum. He had an insatiable appetite for work and for getting on in the game.

“For his size, he was really good and aggressive in the air, he worked his backside off, there was a goal in him, and as a kid he was absolutely brilliant to handle.

“As I said, he was a moaner, but when you work as hard as he does, and you can moan too, then that is a good thing to have.

“He was just a fabulous kid, and where he went to in the game was phenomenal. He got 51 Scotland caps, and played at the highest level in Scotland and England.

“He was great to work with. I’ve not got a bad word to say about Naisy.

“He was always very vocal, and he was a good teammate to have. I could imagine he was a thorn in the flesh of the opposition, not only because he liked a good moan, but because he was a cracking football player.

“He took on responsibility at an early age and he went on to fulfil what I think would have been his ambitions in the game.

“He’s a really good lad, and everything he got from the game he absolutely deserved.

“I think the fans will appreciate a lot of his qualities.”

A trip to face Hibs on Saturday is quite the baptism of fire for Naismith, but Brown doesn’t think he will be fazed by it, and that his belief can rub off on his off-colour players.

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“He has the derby on Saturday and what a start that is for him,” he said.

“He’ll be approaching that like he did every game, with total commitment. He will be looking forward to it.

“It will be a very difficult one for him, its two teams that are out of form in all honesty, but I’m sure that Naisy will rise to the challenge.”

As well as the experience he has gained throughout his playing career, Brown believes that Naismith’s role in the Scottish national team set-up will also have been invaluable to him, and that his presence on that coaching team says a lot about his abilities.

“He must have done really well for Stevie Clarke,” he said.

“He probably included him at first because he had a link with the players, he hadn’t long finished playing.

“But he hasn’t been playing for a wee while now and he’s still part of the coaching team, so he’s obviously adding something to what Stevie needs there.

“He appears to have all the attributes to be a successful manager, but the only way you ever find out is by doing it and see how you get on after a few months.

“It’s the hardest job in the world!”

So, a lot of hearty encouragement with the odd cautionary tale thrown in for good measure for Brown’s former pupil, who he hopes won’t see his status as a revered Hearts player tarnished as a result of what happens from here on in, as perhaps happened towards the end of predecessor Robbie Neilson’s reign.

“It’s all about results at the end of the day,” he said.

“Look at Robbie, he had a not bad record, but the supporters did turn against him in the end and that made it very difficult for him. I don’t think that will happen to Naisy, but you never know in football.

“That’s the way it is and if you lose the supporters then there is rarely a way back.

“He was getting a lot of stick, and the fans were clearly against him. That’s a difficult position to be in, and unfortunately, Robbie ended up losing his job.

“Naisy has a clean sheet to work from though, and he will approach it full of confidence. He’s a smashing kid, a really nice kid, and nothing will bother him too much.

“He’ll have a right good go at that job.”