Lawrence Shankland shone for Hearts once again as the Jambos won 2-1 at Fir Park with the club captain scoring both goals.
The 28-year-old striker subtly flicked the ball into the goal off a Frankie Kent header in the 27th minute of play before outdoing Motherwell’s Liam Kelly in the 71st minute to score two very different, yet equally impressive and valuable goals for his club.
Heading into the international break, much had been spoken of how key a win would be for the Jambos and, despite Alex Cochrane’s handball, the squad were able to deliver.
After the match, Shankland was full of praise for his teammates and is sure that this is the start of brighter results to come.
“Its a big result”, Shankland said after the game.”Motherwell have always performed well against us, so we knew it was going to be tough but I thought we performed really well today. Overall I think we deserved to win.
“I think coming into the game we knew how big it was and to come here and get a result would be the best statement for the ups and downs we’ve had this season so far.
“I think that’s probably been the biggest thing. It has been so up and down, and there hasn't been any real consistency winning or losing.
“It can sometimes cause frustrations among people and I understand that. But the main thing was coming here and getting the win ahead of the international break.”
Hearts have come under fire for several defensive displays in recent weeks and have endured a nasty habit of conceding two goals in quick succession. However, despite an onslaught from the eleven Motherwell footballers, the Jambos were able to hold on with Frankie Kent, Stephen Kingsley and Kye Rowles all shining in the final moments of play.
Speaking of this change in display, Shankland admitted: “Of course we came under a bit of pressure in the second half. Motherwell put full bodies forward. Then we give away the penalty that puts us under bit of pressure but I think we stood up to it.
!In recent weeks we’ve conceded goals quite quickly but we made that point that it wouldn’t happen again. The boys at the back, the back three stood up to it really well and the team defended really well when it was asked.
“Of course questions have been asked in that area of the game recently. And I know we can do it. It’s frustrating when you lose goals so quickly and it causes you problems in games.”
After his eight goalless games, Shankland has now scored five goals in five matches. “My form has turned a bit since the start of the season,” Shankland acknowledged. “The goals weren’t as free-flowing. My general play wasn’t as good as it could have been.
“But the last international break, I got a wee break and came back and played really well. Overall performances have been good, I’ve been happy with them and the goals have flowed today.”
It was a timely performance from the Hearts’ club captain who was left out of Scotland’s squad to face their remaining two Euros qualifying fixtures. They are, of course, superfluous with the Tartan Army already destined for Germany next year and Shankland believes if he is able to maintain his current form he could well be in with a seat on the plane next summer.
“(Steve Clarke) spoke to me before the last camp when I was left out. Called me to let me know I wouldn’t be involved in this one because I’d been involved in the one previously.
“But I don’t expect to hear from him to be honest. I just keep doing what I’m doing. But as I say, recently my form’s been better, it’s picked up, scoring goals again so that’s all I can do. Do what I’m doing for Hearts and I say it all the time, but national teams take care of themselves when they come around.
“To be honest, I think in football you need to live in the here and now and deal with what’s coming soon. So if I keep doing that month to month then when that comes round if I’m in good form then we will see what happens.”