'Shankland's extraordinary goal haul makes him worthy winner'

Hearts fan's voice

Despite the 3-0 defeat at a Celtic side in pole position to be crowned Scottish champions, it was still a great weekend for Jambos as third place was confirmed and Lawrence Shankland won the PFA Scotland player of the year award.

It’s absolutely fair to say Shankland has performed a lot of the heavy lifting to get Hearts into the position where we have qualified for European football for the third season in a row.

His 28 goals for us in all competitions is an extraordinary achievement and with three league games left, I think he will top the 30 mark.

I really don’t understand why there is disgruntlement from Old Firm supporters clamouring for one of their players to win the award, when it’s the players themselves who have voted for Shankland to get the top prize.

Until the last month or so, he’s been netting goals almost every week and perhaps there’s a bit of recency bias clouding opinion but there’s no doubt he’s a worthy winner.

Inevitably, there’s been chat about whether he will extend his contract but as Shankland said himself, all that talk needs to be parked so he can concentrate on the Euros next month in Germany, as well as finishing our league campaign on a high.

Hearts head coach Steven Naismith will no doubt be able to offer important counsel to Shankland on blocking out transfer speculation and as a proud Scot himself, he will be eager to see him head for the opener in Munich in the best frame of mind possible.

Saturday’s match versus Dundee will by no means be a dead rubber given Tony Doherty’s side still have European football to play for, so I imagine Naismith will treat the game with the utmost respect and play a full-strength team.

It would be good to see a few of the Hearts B team players perhaps feature on the bench and get a some minutes over the next three matches but you’d imagine their opportunities may come in pre-season.

Greg Playfair can be found at @OorWeeChat