Hearts delighted Shankland remains at club as speculation 'put to bed'

Shankland is the top scorer in the country this season with 19 goals in 30 appearances for Hearts.

Steven Naismith is “delighted” that Lawrence Shankland will remain at Hearts and the speculation over the forward’s future can now be “put to bed”.

The in-form Scotland striker was repeatedly linked with a move to Rangers during the January transfer window that closed on Thursday night but the manager insists there was never any offer to contemplate.

Shankland is the top goal-scorer in the country this season with 19 goals in 30 appearances across all competitions for the Tynecastle club and another for Scotland in their Euro qualifiers.

The 28-year-old has been in talks with Hearts over a new contract, with his current deal expiring at the end of next season, but despite a self-imposed deadline from the club now expiring, Naismith is still hoping to keep the striker for “as long as possible” but says any future talks will take place internally.

Speaking to the media on Friday he said: “Yeah, nothing came in, but we told you that at the start of the window and it was the exact same the whole way through.

“We are delighted that Shanks has stayed, I think all that speculation can now be put to bed. As much as it didn’t really affect him, his performances over the last two months have been brilliant.

“We have been speaking to him about a new contract. There was a deadline on that, more just to get to an end point at this moment in time. So everything is now focused on this second part of the season, to continue how we are doing it and have a successful season.

“Everything else after that will take care of itself, nothing has changed from our point of view in terms of Lawrence is someone we want to be here. We want him to be here as long as he can be and if, in the future, something can be done then I’m sure as a club we will look to do that.

“But I will reiterate, Lawrence is at a massively important part of his career, so he needs to weigh everything up and if that takes time then that will take time.

“The deadline is not good for the media, because it stops stories coming out, The deadline has now happened so we don’t talk about it again and we only talk about football, it’s as simple as that.

“Anything else regarding any player at the club’s contract extension or anything like that we will do internally and we will always try and keep players that we want and who think has a value here.

“And that’s the way it is, it is clear and simple for everybody.”

Hearts travel to Dundee in Premiership action on Saturday as they look to cement their place in third in the Premiership and if possible cut the ten-point gap to second place.

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