John Robertson issues passionate Hearts defence of Lawrence Shankland after 'disrespectful' Celtic claim

The Hearts icon has issued a stirring defenceThe Hearts icon has issued a stirring defence
The Hearts icon has issued a stirring defence | SNS
John Robertson has come to Lawrence Shankland’s Hearts defence after his ability to score at a ‘higher level’.

Hearts legend John Robertson has hit back at Celtic hero Pat Bonner after his claim over Player of the Year award winner Lawrence Shankland.

Despite the Jambos talisman enjoying an astonishing season in front of goal with 31 goals and eight assists across all competitions, his ability to step up to the highest level has been debated. Speaking on BBC Sportsound, Bonner was asked whether Norwich City loanee Adam Idah, Aberdeen’s Bojan Miovski or Shankland would be a better Celtic signing, and the ex-Hoops goalkeeper had some reservations about the latter.

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He said: “The thing about Lawrence Shankland is that he will score goals, no doubt about that, for a team that’s performing here in the league. He will get chances to score. But when it goes into the higher level in the Champions League, when sometimes you are under the cosh, you might get one or two chances. But you have to work very, very hard up front. Close people down and all of that.”

“I'm not sure Lawrence would have that piece of his game to match what the expectations might be. That might be the bet where you might not go for Lawrence Shankland.

“A lot of big teams would be looking at that part of it all. He can score goals, but I'm not sure if he could fit into the Celtic way of playing, in the way that Miovski might do and Adam Idah already proved.”

Hearts icon Robertson was having none of it, moving quick to defend Shankland, who’s future will soon become a topic of discussion ahead of the summer window. He hit back: “I think you’re being a wee bit disrespectful to Lawrence Shankland if I’m being honest guys.

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“To say he's not got the pace? Well, he’s scored home and away against Celtic, he's scored home and away against Hibs. The big games. He’s scored more goals than any other striker in Scottish football against the same opposition. So why wouldn't he score goals for Celtic? You're saying he doesn't have pace — you don’t necessarily have to have pace to score 31 goals. You've got a goalscorer.

“Might he not be suited for European football? He’s scored goals for Hearts in European football. Yes, in a lesser tournament you could say, but he's still scored. He’s scored a goal for Scotland in Georgia away and he’s going to feature prominently in the European championships.

“I think you’re being disrespectful by saying he wouldn't fit into the Celtic way. The guy’s proven it last season and this season with nearly 60 goals. So I think he fits into any team. Shankland is a born goalscorer who will score goals for any team in any league.“