Steven Naismith is delighted to see talismanic captain Lawrence Shankland back on the goal trail as Hearts bid to get their cinch Premiership campaign on track against Livingston on Wednesday.

The Tynecastle side have slipped into the bottom half of the league after losing to both Celtic and Rangers over the past two weekends.

However, the most notable positive to come from those setbacks against the two Glasgow sides was that Shankland – who bagged 28 goals last term – scored in both matches following an eight-game, two-month drought from late August.

“No, I never really felt it was getting on top of him,” said manager Naismith, when asked about the impact of Shankland’s recent dry spell. “He contributes more than his goals.

“When somebody is going through a period like that, I think when you’re a natural goalscorer, you’re more comfortable with these situations because you understand these wee periods will come when you need to contribute differently.

“I’ve played with a few good goalscorers in my time and their mentality is always the same. They know a chance will come and they know eventually they will get a goal that gets them back on track.

“That’s what happened against Celtic, and he followed it up with a fantastic goal on Sunday. Shanks will go into every game comfortable and confident that he can score.”

After defeats against the top two teams in the league, Hearts have a chance to get back up and running with a home match against a Livingston side who are also in the bottom six after losing their last two matches.

Naismith acknowledges his side will likely have more possession than in their last two games, but he is respectful of the way Livingston operate under David Martindale.

“With it being a home game, the onus is on us to come out and be offensive and cause them problems,” said the manager.

“You would expect us to have a bit more possession than we did on Sunday, but Livingston are a team who have mainly been together for a longer period of time, the manager’s been there for a while and they understand how they want to play and how to get results.

“They’ll be resilient and they’ll cause us problems in areas of the pitch that they feel they can. I wouldn’t say they’re overly physical. They’ve got experienced players who understand the Scottish game and know when you need to be more direct or be firmer in the tackle, but they’ve also got players who want the ball.

“I think the manager’s evolved over the years. He’s done a good job getting the club stabilised in the Premiership and trying to push on every year. It will be a different test, but we need to be on the front foot to start with it.”

Hearts face Rangers in Sunday’s Viaplay Cup semi-final, but Naismith dismissed any notion of rotating his squad on Wednesday ahead of the trip to Hampden.

“Our full focus is on this game, for sure,” he said. “You can’t get carried away and take your eye off the ball. That would be a silly thing to do.

“The personnel who will play (against Livingston) will be the ones we believe will give us the best opportunity to win the game.”