Everton striker Steven Naismith stresses 'football is only a game' after his uncle Douglas narrowly avoided serious injury in the Clutha pub tragedy

Naismith's uncle has just walked in when the helicopter crash happened and the ex-fire fighter attempted to help others instinctively despite injuring his shoulder

Everton striker Steven Naismith could be worrying about his lack of first-team action this season but recent events close to home have put any frustrations he may have had into stark perspective.

The Scotland international's uncle Douglas narrowly avoided serious injury or worse in the Clutha pub helicopter tragedy last month which has claimed the lives of 10 people.

Naismith's support of a Liverpool-based homeless charity has also helped add another degree of realism to his situation.

"My uncle was out with his mates and went up to the pub and had just walked in when it happened," he told Press Association Sport at the homeless Christmas lunch event at the Whitechapel Centre in the city.

"He is a retired high-ranking firefighter but his instincts just kicked in and he started calming people down, but he damaged his shoulder badly after being knocked out and ended up being taken to hospital.

"There is a lot of passion (in football) and it is the favourite sport in Britain but that puts it in perspective when these things happen.

"It is a tragedy and days like that up there and days like this make you realise football is only a game."

Naismith also supports a similar charity in Glasgow from his time as a Rangers player but insists he is not interested in the credit he gets, he just wants to give something back having worked to put himself in a comfortable position.

"I personally think there is a wrong persona about footballers," he said.

"Ninety per cent of footballers who I've played with, against or met outside of football have been genuine down-to-earth guys and the majority come from working class backgrounds and had to work to where they have got to.

"People think worse of them than they really are. Don't get me wrong, in any walk of life there are people who aren't the nicest but overall a lot of players do a lot of charity work to help people in need.

"This is something which is close to me, I wanted to help and I'm glad I had the chance to.

"They do fantastic work. The club has backed me brilliantly, they have contributed as well so it is fantastic for everyone involved."

Naismith has started just three league matches under Roberto Martinez this season, one of which saw him score the winner at home to Chelsea, and made seven substitute appearances.

He understands, however, because the Toffees have had a great start to life under their new manager it is making his life more difficult.

The 27-year-old is prepared to accept that in the short term but admits he does not know what the longer-term future holds.

"The biggest problem for me is the team has been doing so well," he added ahead of Saturday's visit of Fulham.

"It is a great situation to be in as a squad because we are up competing at the top of the league and we are playing some fantastic football and it is making me a better player.

"But the other side of the coin is I have to sit and wait and bide my time.

"I felt earlier in the season when Steven Pienaar got injured I came in and did well.

"But then I went away on international duty and when I came back the game plan had changed for the coming games and it was me that suffered as Steven eventually came back and is probably one of the first picks in the team, for me one of the best I've played with.

"You need to accept it, work hard. This period coming up will be a tricky time as there are a lot of games and there will be injuries and suspensions and when the door opens you have to make sure you take your opportunity."

Asked if he saw a future for himself at the club the Scot added: "I would hope so. My short-term future I see here but it is such a tricky game it can change so quickly.

"There will come a time when I'm not enjoying it because I'm not getting as much game time then I might need to make a decision.

"But at the moment I am still learning every day and it has been great for me."

PA

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower