Starting this season on the transfer list, Naismith's days at Pompey were numbered. Being forced to train with the youth squad and only making appearances at left-back or off the bench didn't get the Scot down, however, having won five player of the season awards, it's safe to say he revived his Pompey career. Naismith finished Pompey's top scorer with 13 league goals from the wings, also chipping in with 10 assists.
The 25-year-old was a product of the Rangers youth academy and represented Scotland at Under 16 and 17 level. He was sent on loan to Cowdenbeath and Partick Thistle to get some first team football in 2011/2012, but Rangers demotion to the Third Division saw the left winger make 17 league appearances the following season. This wasn't enough to save his Rangers career, however, as his contract was mutually terminated that summer.
A successful trial at Accrington Stanley saw Naismith move south of the border to try to rejuvenate his career. He went on to make 79 appearances for Stanley, chipping in with 14 goals, before Pompey boss Paul Cook came calling. Naismith signed for an undisclosed fee and penned a 3 year deal. Having spearheaded Pompey's push to become champions, it's safe to say that Naismith has repaid the fee spent to acquire his services.
Strengths and Weaknesses
Able to play anywhere across the front line, versatility is perhaps Naismith's biggest strength. A left foot like a traction engine creates the danger down both flanks but it's his composure in front of goal which makes him deadly through the middle. Having scored two free-kicks this season adds to the real goalscoring threat that Naismith provides.
With such talent it may be a wonder as to why Naismith found himself on the transfer list at Portsmouth. But, all too often last season, the Scot would go missing in games. A lack of work rate combined with a knack of using pointless skills instead of a simple pass left him in Cook's bad books. But, though they still shown through at times, these are both attributes that Naismith has largely eradicated from his game.
What They Say:
Paul Cook – Portsmouth Manager
‘His work ethic around the place is completely different to what it was. I do think he’s changed. His professionalism has improved a lot. I think he’s matured quickly and that’s down to him.'
Leam Richardson – Portsmouth Assistant Manager
'‘Nobody is ever going to question Kal’s ability. He is 6ft 2in, athletic, quick, has a technique to die for, is left-footed and has a goal in him.'