Stephen Kingsley: Hearts defender reveals how latest free kick was improvised and where it ranks

Stephen Kingsley reckons his fourth goal from a free-kick this season was the best of the lot, but revealed that he actually missed out on the actual routine rehearsed on the training ground.

Sunday, 17th April 2022, 12:01 pm

The left-footed Hearts defender swerved his attempt into the top corner after a one-two with Liam Boyce to put Hearts two up against Hibs in the Scottish Cup semi final at Hampden.

His seventh goal of the season and his second in as many weeks against Hibs followed previous free kicks against Ross County, Motherwell and St Mirren, but scoring in a semi final at the national stadium was extra special, helping Hearts edge out a 2-1 victory.

“I haven’t practised that free-kick, not once,” Kingsley revealed. “It was actually planned for Barrie McKay if we got one on his side of the park. We felt confident about it working for him, but when we got it on my side and it was way too far out for me to hit, so we had a quick word and I worked it with Boyce.

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Stephen Kingsley celebrates making it 2-0 with his stunning free kick

“Liam’s lay-off was perfect, the weight was bang on because the ball wasn’t moving too quickly for me. Harry Clarke was right in the line of where I wanted to put it, so I used him to start it outside the post and bring it back in.

"I got my first derby goal last week and that was special, but at Hampden and against Hibs, when it's the one that basically gets us into the final...well, that's right up there.

"It's my seventh of the season and my fourth from a free-kick. I still think the one I hit against St Mirren earlier in the season was the best, but this one means so much.”

Robbie Neilson also paid credit to coaches Paul Gallagher, Gordon Forrest and Lee McCulloch for their part in the free-kick routine. The trio are in charge of attacking and defending set pieces at Hearts.

Stephen Kingsley bends his free kick into the top corner after a one-two with Liam Boyce

Neilson said: “To their credit, we’ve worked on it last week and didn’t do it. We kept it for and it worked a treat. Those guys are in charge of that and it has won us a game and taken us to a final.”

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