Naismith says football 'like the wild west' amid lack of interest in Shankland

The 28-year-old forward is the Premiership's top scorer this season.

Steven Naismith says football is “like the wild west” during the January transfer window amid a lack of concrete interest in Lawrence Shankland.

The Scotland forward, who is the Premiership’s top scorer this season, has been heavily linked with a move away from the club in media reports.

But the Hearts boss insists he is grateful that no club has made their move as the Tynecastle side try to tie him down with a lucrative new contract.

However, as much as Naismith would love the 28-year-old, who has 19 goals across all competitions this season, to stay, he knows the possibilities that lie ahead and urged the Hearts support to enjoy while he is still there.

He said: “For Lawrence in terms of our contract offer, he’s at a time of his career where you need to understand that he’s playing the best football of his life.

“He’ll need to weigh up the pros from our point of view in terms of staying at Hearts and what he can achieve, but he also has to understand that it’s a short career.

“He has to do the best he can for him and his family. Everyone within the club and who supports it need to understand that and respect it and just enjoy him for as long as we have him. Whether that is for the length of this contract or beyond.”

When asked if he was surprised that there hadn’t been more concrete interest in the league’s top scorer, he said: “Football is like the wild west, what people think is good and what they don’t think is good, the perception is whatever it may be, but for us we are grateful that there is none because I think over the space of the last two months he has shown his incredible talent with what he’s done.

“I’ve also said consistently that his improvement as a player has been brilliant, he is a leader, so what will happen will happen.

“We will do all we can and Shanks will concentrate on his football.”

Hearts play Spartans on Saturday in their first game back after a two-week winter break before hosting Dundee in their return to league action three days later.

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