Lawrence Shankland nets twice as Hearts see off St Mirren in 2-0 win

The Hearts captain made the difference as his side took three points at Tynecastle.

Lawrence Shankland nets twice as Hearts see off St Mirren SNS Group

Lawrence Shankland continued his hot scoring streak with a double as in-form Hearts defeated St Mirren 2-0 to move two points clear in third place in the cinch Premiership.

The Scotland forward netted in either half to make it 10 goals in 11 games for the Jambos and 15 for the season at club level.

Hearts were good value for their sixth win in eight league games, while St Mirren – who were in third place as recently as a fortnight ago after a bright start to the campaign – dropped to fifth after a fourth defeat in six.

Jambos boss Steven Naismith made three changes to the side that pulled off a surprise 2-0 win at Celtic the previous weekend as Stephen Kingsley, Jorge Grant and Alan Forrest were replaced by Barrie McKay, Yutaro Oda and Craig Halkett, who was handed his first start in a year after suffering a serious knee injury last Christmas Eve.

There was one tweak to the St Mirren team that drew 0-0 with Motherwell as Alex Greive took over from Stav Nachmani in attack.

Hearts started brightly and Alex Cochrane curled a low free-kick just wide of the far post after Aidan Denholm was fouled by Alex Gogic on the edge of the box in the opening minute.

Denholm then fizzed a ferocious half-volley just wide after a corner broke to him 20 yards out.

Keanu Baccus had St Mirren’s first notable effort in the 27th minute when he sent a free-kick narrowly wide from just outside the box.

After an opening half hour in which there were no clear chances at either end, Hearts went ahead in the 33th minute when Cochrane charged down a St Mirren clearance before clipping a perfect cross from the left to the back post for Shankland who stooped to force home a header from close range.

Shankland doubled his tally for the afternoon four minutes after the break with a nonchalant half-volley from the edge of the box after a lovely pass from McKay.

Shankland had a chance to notch his hat-trick in the 57th minute when he was set up inside the box by Beni Baningime, but Zach Hemming got down to push his low effort behind.

St Mirren, who had previously offered little in attack, briefly threw off the shackles as they tried to find a way back into the game and Gogic saw a header well saved by Zander Clark moments before Thierry Small had a shot blocked on the line by Kye Rowles, but the hosts held firm for a ninth clean sheet in 18 league games.

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