Hearts captain Lawrence Shankland explains taking painkillers as he eyes another goal target against Hibs

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The striker’s record in Edinburgh derbies makes him a major danger for the Tynecastle club this weekend.

Hearts captain Lawrence Shankland has played down his need for painkillers to get through games and declared himself ready to face Hibs on Saturday. The striker admitted suffering from “niggles” and playing through pain after taking tablets during Wednesday’s draw with Rangers.

Shankland has scored in four times in the four Edinburgh derbies so far this season and only needs two more goals to reach the 30 mark. A prolific first year at Tynecastle Park is drawing to a close but he insisted he will have no problem playing in Hearts’ final Premiership match.

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He swallowed painkillers at the edge of the technical area during the first half of the 2-2 draw at Ibrox and is prepared to do so again if it helps him feature against Hibs. “It’s just niggles. You get them at this stage of the season. There’s only one game left but I’ll be ready to go on Saturday,” he told the Evening News.

“You don’t want to miss any football, especially at this stage of the season when games are so important. Everybody in the team probably takes painkillers to get through the game. It’s just I forgot to take them beforehand. It’s not anything major at all. It happens at this time of the season when everybody gets a bit fatigued.”

Asked about potentially reaching the 30 mark against Hibs after breaking John Robertson’s 20-goal record in January’s Scottish Cup derby at Easter Road, Shankland replied: “We’re at home in a big derby game. I’ve got a decent record in them this season, so if I was to do that in the last game of the season it would be great. It’s more important that we win. Whoever scores, we need to go and win that game. There is natural disappointment from Wednesday but we need to get over that for Saturday.”

Garang Kuol’s stoppage-time strike earned Hearts a point in Glasgow but they can no longer achieve their pre-season target of third place in the league. They now need to avoid defeat against Hibs to ensure they stay fourth. Shankland argued that Kuol’s first goal in maroon should have been the winner.

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“Needing a result to get fourth is the position we’ve put ourselves in through doing the things we did on Wednesday night,” he said in reference to conceding soft goals against Rangers. “We scored twice at Ibrox, did our jobs, defended our box and then scored on 90-odd minutes. For us, that should be the winner. It would be a huge result for us. I’m in no way saying that a draw at Ibrox isn’t a good result, but ultimately it isn’t enough.

Hearts captain Lawrence Shankland is two goals short of 30 for the season.Hearts captain Lawrence Shankland is two goals short of 30 for the season.
Hearts captain Lawrence Shankland is two goals short of 30 for the season.

“It’s been a trend through the season, giving teams goals that we don’t need to lose. Decision-making from everybody can be better to avoid these scenarios. The first goal is quite unlucky. Hilly [James Hill] slips and the ball ricochets into his path. It could go anywhere.

“The second one is a straightforward long ball to deal with and we manage to lose a goal from it. We are hugely disappointed we can’t finish third. It was a big part of the season and I’m gutted about that. We need to pick ourselves up for the weekend, which is another huge opportunity to secure fourth place.”