Lawrence Shankland makes injuries and travelling assertion as Hearts bid to recover
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The 27-year-old striker believes there is enough quality in the squad to pick up points, even though there are now 11 first-team players on the injury list. Peter Haring and Andy Halliday are the latest additions after the 2-0 defeat by Aberdeen at Pittodrie. It was the Jambos’ tenth defeat in 14 away matches. Hearts have recorded just five wins in 21 games
Shankland said: “It’s mad. I think there are 11 first-team members out now, which obviously doesn’t help, but we can’t use it as an excuse. There is enough out there to go and win football matches and the ones who are fit need to dig in and do what we can to win. It’s only October, it’s hardly a disaster, but things aren’t going the way we want them to just now. You can always turn things around, that’s just the way football is. We just need to get over this and move into Celtic this week and make sure we are ready to go.”
With no Premier Sports Cup tie to play in midweek, Hearts will welcome a few days to rest and recover before another hectic few weeks begins. Celtic visit Tynecastle Park on Saturday before Europa Conference League matches at home to RFS and away to Istanbul Basaksehir. An away trip to Ross County is sandwiched in between. Shankland admits the travelling has been difficult, but isn’t using that as an excuse either. Hearts arrived back from Florence on Friday after their 5-1 European loss to Fiorentina before heading straight for Aberdeen.
He added: “The week will give us a week of normal training, there is no travel involved. We travelled to Italy and then straight on to Aberdeen, which is difficult for a squad that hasn’t done it before. There’s a lot of adaptation to be done, but that’s not an excuse. If we had gone out and converted our chances we’d probably have won that game.
“We need to be at it all the time. To be fair, I don’t think we were miles off it at Aberdeen. We started really well and as the game went on maybe the guys who played the other night started to tire. Aberdeen were fresher finishing the game and that’s where they got the two goals. It was a frustrating one to lose. We created enough in the game to score and we probably gave away two cheap goals as well. It’s not a good combination. That seems to be the way it is at the moment.”
Shankland is Hearts’ top scorer with six goals, but hasn’t found the net for five games. He was denied by a superb Kelle Roos save in the first half and missed a good chance when Cochrane squared to him at the front post in the second. “It was a good ball and I knew I was beyond the front post,” he explained. “So I tried to open up my foot and I didn’t get enough contact on it. I have got to do better. I’ve got to score, essentially. You can’t beat yourself up but you know you need to convert. I know I’m expected to score those ones.”