Ann Budge provides Hearts contract update on Lawrence Shankland as she asks two key questions

Lawrence Shankland has been a regular Hearts goal-getter this season.Lawrence Shankland has been a regular Hearts goal-getter this season.
Lawrence Shankland has been a regular Hearts goal-getter this season. | SNS Group
The Hearts striker has had plenty of transfer rumours surround him.

Ann Budge says Hearts will do all they can when it comes to Lawrence Shankland's new contract - but she appreciates his position.

The club talisman added another goal to his tally in Sunday's excellent 2-0 win over Celtic. It further cements their place in the Premiership's third spot ahead of a Scottish Cup quarter-final tie with Greenock Morton on Monday.

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He has struck 27 times in 37 games this season and looks bound to cross the 30-goal barrier. There is also growing debate over whether he should be the starting striker for Scotland at Euro 2024, with his form certain to attract interest of other clubs.

Shankland has 18 months left on his deal and Hearts want to get him signed to a long-term deal. He is taking his time to assess his options and that is something Budge is aware of.

The chairwoman told PLZ: "It's not definitely close. Not at all. He's still got 18 months left on his contract, there or thereabouts, so a large part of it is up to Lawrence. He's a young man and is looking at what's right for his career. He's been fantastic for us and I'd like to think we've been pretty good for him as well. So we're still talking and we'd love him to stay.

"But he's a man in demand, as we know. And I think that's only going to increase. It will be his decision at the end of the day."

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She added to Sky Sports: "We have been trying as I am sure everybody knows. We will continue to try. Clearly, we love having him here. If we can, we will keep him but largely it will come down to him. He will have his own ideas of where he wants his career to go.

"Does he want to stay in Scotland? Does he want to try something else? At the end of the day we will do our best. Time will tell whether we can succeed

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