Lawrence Shankland chasing history with John Robertson's Hearts scoring record "there to be beaten"

Kyle Lafferty and Liam Boyce both tried and failed to break John Robertson’s 30-year Hearts goalscoring record. Lawrence Shankland is the latest postulant in pursuit of history. With more than half a season remaining, he needs just six more to equal Robertson’s long-standing achievement of 20 goals in a single campaign.
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A header and a penalty-kick in Saturday’s 3-1 win against Kilmarnock took Shankland to 14 goals in all competitions since joining Hearts from Belgian club Beerschot in July. Three of those came in Europe, the other 11 put him joint-top of the Premiership scoring charts with Rangers’ Antonio Colak and Aberdeen’s Bojan Miovski. Not since 1991/92 has a Hearts forward reached the 20 mark. Lafferty got 19 in 2017/18, with Boyce reaching 16 last term. Shankland has positioned himself perfectly to have a serious tilt at usurping both Northern Irishmen and, most importantly, Robertson himself.

“Every time I score I get reminded of that. Of course it would be great to go and do that. Robbo is obviously a legend at the club and the record is there to be beaten, hopefully. I’ll do my best,” said the Scotland internationalist, admitting surprise that three decades have passed since it last happened. For a team that always tends to be up the top end of the table, it’s maybe unusual. I think a few people have got close over the years but scoring 20 goals isn’t an easy thing to do. I’m not going to get ahead of myself. I’m still a bit away from that. Hopefully I can do it.

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“It’s a good pressure. That’s what you want as a striker coming here. You know what it brings to be the Hearts No.9. I knew when I came in what I was signing up for. Up until now, I’ve been thriving on it. Hopefully that stays the case for the rest of the season. I don’t set scoring targets each season. I sacked it off when I signed for Ayr and that’s when I started scoring, so I’ve kept it that way and it’s worked until now. It’s always nice when they’re going in but you’re never far away from them stopping. I’ll just need to keep doing what I’m doing and hopefully I can keep scoring. It’s been good coming here, there are a lot of chances for me to score. If I keep getting into positions I’ll back myself to put them away.”

After succeeding in a slightly withdrawn role behind striker Josh Ginnelly against Kilmarnock, Shankland would love to put one away at former club Dundee United this week. “I fancy a goal every week,” he smiled. “It was nice to score two on Saturday. Being an ex-Ayr player, I was getting a bit of stick down the Kilmarnock end. It’s natural as a striker to count your goals and people like to remind you as well.”

Hearts (3-4-2-1): Gordon; Halkett, Kingsley, Cochrane; M Smith, Devlin (Kiomourtzoglou 78), Snodgrass (C Smith 90), Halliday (Forrest 90); Shankland, McKay (Sibbick 90); Ginnelly (Grant 78).

Kilmarnock (4-2-3-1): Walker; Mayo (Alebiosu 85), Taylor, Wright, McInroy (Chrisene 46); Power, Donnelly; Armstrong, McKenzie (Murray 68), Polworth (Doidge 46); Wales (Robinson 68).

Referee: Willie Collum.

Attendance: 18,645.