Hearts star dismisses Saudi interest as Celtic boss lauds Hibs European heroics

A Hearts star has hit out at speculation suggesting he could leave Tynecastle as Hibs receive praise from Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers.
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Hearts striker Lawrence Shankland has dismissed speculation linking him with a move to Saudi Arabia and insisted he ‘won’t take any interest’ in transfer talk.

The Scotland striker has scored three goals in all competitions so far this season and found the net in Thursday’s dramatic Europa Conference League win against Rosenberg as his side overturned a first leg deficit to set up a play-off round meeting with Greek club PAOK.

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Shankland has plundered his way to an impressive 31 goals in 51 appearances for Hearts and that has led to speculation a number of English Championship clubs and Saudi outfit Al-Ettifaq - managed by former Rangers boss Steven Gerrard - are ready to make a big money offer to try and tempt the Jam Tarts into selling their top goalscorer.

Speaking of the speculation, Shankland said: He said: “Listen, I live in the here and now. I play my football at Hearts and I’ll keep doing that until I’m told not to.

“Would it be hard to leave nights like Thursday behind? Of course because European games with the big atmospheres are great to play in. It’s the same when we play the Old Firm, Hibs or Aberdeen – you love to play in these games. But until that moment comes, I won’t take any interest in it. I haven’t spoken to Jack. I’ve just seen all sorts of social media posts from over there. I might text him and ask if he got the same deal as Neymar!”

Celtic boss lauds Hibs heroics

Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers believes Scottish football will benefit from the fine performances both Hibs and Hearts put in during their Europa Conference League ties on Thursday night.

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Hearts came through a testing contest against Rosenberg as their cross-city rivals earned a 2-2 draw at Swiss club FC Luzern to secure a 5-3 aggregate win and a play-off round tie with English Premier League club Aston Villa. The wins mean the Edinburgh rivals will join Rangers and Aberdeen over the coming week, with Celtic set to join in when the Champions League group stages get underway next month.

Rodgers praised the efforts of Hibs and Hearts and believes the performances have given both clubs an opportunity to ‘show off’ all that is good about Scottish football.

“It’s absolutely brilliant,” Rodgers said.

“The more teams you can have in Europe, the better it is for the country and the league and everything that’s connected with that. For Hearts and Hibs to get through was great. Obviously. you’ve got Aberdeen there as well, ourselves, Rangers. The more in there the better it is.

“I always look at it from a football perspective, the experiences and travel supporters get going to foreign lands. The chance teams get to show off Scottish football. It can only help the more teams you have in Europe. It’s always a challenge. It doesn’t matter if it’s ourselves or other clubs, European football is always a huge challenge when it comes to the travel and balance with domestic football.”

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