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Andy Kirk concedes Hearts are embroiled in Premiership relegation battle

Hearts assistant boss Andy Kirk concedes the struggling Jambos are embroiled in a relegation battle.

The Gorgie club are three points adrift of second-bottom Hamilton following their 2-1 defeat by Accies on Saturday.

The Tynecastle side have won just two Ladbrokes Premiership games all season with three straight losses under their new boss Daniel Stendel.

At the media conference ahead of the home Edinburgh derby against Hibernian on Boxing Day, Kirk was asked if Hearts were now fighting for their top-flight survival.

“We are, the facts don’t lie,” said the former Jambos attacker, who revealed veteran attacker Steven Naismith had suffered a recurrence of a hamstring injury against Hamilton and is a doubt for Thursday.

“We are bottom of the league and it is a position that nobody would have thought a club like Hearts would be in.

“We have to get ourselves out of trouble. The reality is we need to get results and very quickly.

“It is something we have to focus on. There is still a good part of the season left but we have to pick up results very quickly.

“You look at the squad and players we have. We have underperformed.

“We are at the bottom for a reason, we have not picked up points.

“But the new manager is in, there is going to be a big change in things moving forward.

“We have to think positive, be positive with the players in everything we do to get ourselves out of the situation.”

Naismith had returned to the side after a three-game absence against Hamilton but came off at half-time and former Northern Ireland international Kirk admitted his concern.

He said: “We will find out more today. Steven is a major player for us so having him available would be great but we might need to look a wee bit long term with him.

“It is a wee bit of recurrence of what he had previously. We need to be careful with how we treat him.

“There is always concerns but as much time and effort we can put into him to get him right, it will benefit us in the long run.”.