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    Naismith: It’s a wee monkey off our back

    Steven Naismith admitted that scoring the match-winning goal in a win over Chelsea was the perfect way to celebrate his 27th birthday.

    The Scotland forward marked the occasion with a headed strike moments before the interval – a finish which decided Saturday’s game and, consequently, elevated Everton into the top half of the Premier League table.

    An injury to Steven Pienaar had presented Naismith with a starting opportunity and asked if birthdays get much better, the former Rangers man said: “No they don’t.

    “At the start of the season, competition for places is tough. Unfortunately for Steven Pienaar, coming out of the team gave the opportunity to myself and I’m glad I’ve been able to score in the game.

    “It was a case of gambling [for the goal], so that if the ball is there you are there too. Fortunately enough, Jela got a great header and I was there to put it in.”

    The victory over Jose Mourinho’s side doubled Everton’s points tally, building on the consecutive draws against Norwich City, West Bromwich Albion and Cardiff City in the opening month of the season.

    Naismith is certain more positive results will now follow as the Blues continue to adapt to Roberto Martinez’s methods and the summer signings settle into their new environment.

    “It’s been a drastic change from last season with the football we have played,” he added.

    “It takes some getting used to but it’s a wee monkey off our back and now we can push on and get some more wins.”

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