IT’S never easy coming up against one of your heroes, but Talbot forward Keir Samson insists he’ll be happy – so long as he doesn’t have to mark Steven Naismith.

The 21-year-old spent eight years as a youth player at Kilmarnock where Scotland cap Naismith is lauded as one of their top academy graduates.

The pair will go head-to-head on Sunday as Talbot take on Hearts for a place in the quarter-finals of the Scottish Cup at Tynecastle.

Samson told the Chronicle: “I was at Kilmarnock for eight years and he’s always been a player that I’ve looked up to from a young age.

“It will be unreal to play against him. I hope I’m not marking him!”

Naismith scored against former club Killie at Rugby Park on Friday night and Samson was keen to learn off the former Rangers striker and his teammates.

He added: “I watched him on Friday night, and he got man of the match, he was brilliant.

“The way he finds space and the way he plays is unbelievable.

“It’s something to aspire to, to be half as good as Naismith. If I’m selected, I’ll be up against Christophe Berra, a Scotland international.

“It will be some experience just to learn off players like that and see what it takes to play at that level.”

Samson and teammate Mark Shankland were at Auchinleck Academy this week to meet some of the pupils.

He added: “It’s brilliant to see the local kids, in a way, looking up to you. I see a lot of them at the games and the Hearts game is brilliant for them as well.

“It’s going to be a great experience for all the young boys and girls.”