Josh Ginnelly outlines his Hearts contract situation and how he is learning from a Celtic icon

Josh Ginnelly strengthened his case for an extended Hearts contract with two goals in Saturday’s 3-0 win against St Johnstone. The Englishman revealed that he is awaiting a formal offer from the Tynecastle Park hierarchy and is open to staying for next season.
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A deflected opening goal preceded a close-range finish as Ginnelly took his tally to eight for the campaign before Jorge Grant scored Hearts’ third. Since moving from winger to centre-forward, Ginnelly has become an important player for the Edinburgh side.

Informal talks have taken place in the background regarding a potential new deal with his current contract expiring in a few weeks. Both player and club are aiming to reach an agreement but Ginnelly intends to focus on football first. “Nothing. I haven’t heard anything, to be honest. I just have to keep playing. I’m open to staying here, I’ve probably said it before. I’ve just got to see what happens,” he commented.

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His second goal against St Johnstone demonstrated typical traits of an experienced penalty-box poacher, something he has worked on. Watching Celtic’s Japanese forward Kyogo Furuhashi and Hearts team-mate Lawrence Shankland provided useful tips.

“There were couple of time this season where I probably didn’t deal with a situation too well – I’ve stayed on the penalty spot. Then I watch other strikers and the best in the league is probably Kyogo. He is always in that right position. Look at his goals in last week’s [Viaplay Cup] final, he is always in that area. He’s a great player so I study some of the stuff that he does. And it worked for me on Saturday.

“It’s not as easy as it looks. I’ve had to adapt my game. I’ve had to look at how Shanks plays and other strikers in our team. I’ve had to mould my game around that and try to use my pace to try to stretch teams. I just try to be that nuisance, where teams don’t really know where I am until it’s too late. So I just have to keep learning and keep watching other strikers and hopefully the goals keep coming.

“I think Shanks will also watch other players in the league and what they do. It’s not by mistake that these other strikers get into these good positions. It’s something they actually look for. Obviously, when you have you have to change your position, you still watch the players at the top. Everyone will do it. Centre-halves will watch certain players.

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“The coaches do a lot with us, show us clips of other players. Last week we had a meeting about the strikers’ movements and other little things. So you have to take it all on board and try to put it into your game as quickly as you can.”

Josh Ginnelly is open to extending his Hearts contract beyond the summer.Josh Ginnelly is open to extending his Hearts contract beyond the summer.
Josh Ginnelly is open to extending his Hearts contract beyond the summer.

Ginnelly and Shankland’s relationship continues to blossom on and off the field. “It’s good, but we probably formed our relationship first off the pitch,” continued Ginnelly. “To be honest we absolutely batter each other every day. We are constantly getting on to each other about what we’ve done wrong. If I’ve missed an open goal he will remind me. He’s a brilliant player and we are lucky to have him. Long may it continue.”

Hearts (3-5-2): Clark; Hill, Rowles, Kingsley (Halliday 70); M Smith (Forrest 86), Grant, Snodgrass (Kiomourtzoglou 70), McKay (Devlin 78), Cochrane; Shankland, Ginnelly (Kuol 78).

St Johnstone (3-4-1-2): Matthews; Mitchell, Gordon, Brown; Wright, MacPherson, Hallberg (Wotherspoon 75), Montgomery (Gallacher 86); Carey (Bair 75); McLennan (Rudden 70), May (Murphy 75).

Referee: Steven McLean.

Attendance: 18,596.