Hearts' Lawrence Shankland reveals what referee told him as he addresses 'diving' booking & being 'ragdolled'

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Decisions went against the Scotland forward in Dingwall

Hearts captain Lawrence Shankland today spoke out to insist he is no diver after a booking for simulation against Ross County. Referee Grant Irvine cautioned Shankland for going down in a penalty-box challenge with County defender Ryan Leak and later explained the decision to the striker.

Hearts were 2-0 down at the time but Shankland is adamant he was not seeking to win a penalty. He went down from Leak's tackle and video replays show Leak's leg making contact with the forward's thigh. Shankland feels he was unfairly booked in a game his team eventually lost 2-1. He spoke to the Edinburgh News to address the situation and state his case.

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"The yellow card - I haven't even looked for a penalty," he stressed. "I don't know how I fell right enough but the pitch was horrific so it's probably something to do with that or I thought I was getting smashed. I don't know what happened at the time but I've gone down. I haven't asked for a penalty, I went to get up and chase the ball. I think he [Irvine] just reacted too quickly to me falling and booked me."

Irvine explained to Shankland why he produced the yellow card. "He said I gave him a decision to make by going down but, at the same time, I didn't look for a penalty. I don't think me and the ref will ever agree on it so it's one of those ones. We'll let it lie."

The Tynecastle skipper added that he is frequently impeded by opposing defenders during matches and tends not to grumble. "I genuinely think I get one foul every week when I get ragdolled about the box and I never complain that much," he said. "I give out my fair share as well, I agree with that, but I think I'm on the other end of decisions which should be fouls. I don't get them and I get on with it.

"When you get booked for simulation, it's obviously not ideal. My intention at the time wasn't to go down and look for a penalty. I don't know if I thought I was going to get hit or something and your body just reacts as you can anticipate contact. I didn't get up and claim for it so there's no problem on my part."

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Shankland was also involved in another disputed decision in Dingwall when team-mate Stephen Kingsley's goal from a free-kick was disallowed. VAR advised Irvine to review the incident on a touchline monitor and the referee decided Shankland was both in an offside position and blocking the view of County goalkeeper George Wickens.

The Hearts player argued that he had moved away to the keeper's right by the time Kingsley struck the ball. "The offside I think is very harsh," he said. "I've moved pretty early and the goalie has definitely seen the ball because he has dived and got quite close to saving it.

"There is no way he has not seen the ball getting kicked. I've also leaned the other way from where he could see the ball because I knew where he was looking through. I believe he could see it and I think it was harsh but the referee's opinion was different."