Hearts skipper Lawrence Shankland delivers team selection verdict after defeat by Rangers
Lawrence Shankland insists he was not surprised by Robbie Neilson’s attacking line-up against Rangers.
The Hearts skipper believes poor performance rather than tactics or selection were to blame for a seventh consecutive loss to the Ibrox team. The 3-0 defeat at Tynecastle on Wednesday brought to an end a ten-match unbeaten, but Shankland believes Hearts are capable of doing something similar before the season ends.
“We had a good run since coming back from the World Cup and we just need to start again on Saturday,” he said. “If we can replicate that run then, come the end of the season, I’m sure we will be in a good position.
“We were on a good run, ten unbeaten. But we weren’t good enough to get anything out of the game. When you come into these games in that form you want to bring your peak performance and I don’t think we did that.”
Neilson sprung a surprise by playing forwards Garang Kuol and Barrie McKay in an attack-minded midfield three alongside Robert Snodgrass, but it backfired.
Asked if he was surprised by the team selection, the captain replied: “No, I wasn’t surprised. We were at home and needed to take the game to Rangers. We looked to try and attack. Our overall play was slack and we were punished for it.”
Shankland himself had to drop deep, particularly in the first half, with Rangers dominating possession and territory. “It was probably due to how poor we were in possession and Rangers were pressing us really high as well,” he explained. “They kept getting turnovers and hemmed us in at points. We struggled to get out.”