Lawrence Shankland Hearts Scottish Cup omission explained as Rangers expected to 'test the water'

The Jambos top goal scorer missed the Scottish Cup win over Spartans at Ainslie Park on Saturday
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Hearts head coach Steven Naismith has reiterated the club's desire to retain the services of Rangers linked Lawrence Shankland after the league's top goal scorer was left out of the matchday squad in Saturday's Scottish Cup win over Spartans.

The Scotland international - under contract until 2025 - was omitted from the Jambos matchday squad to face the League Two side due to illness as his team mates managed to grind out a battling 2-1 victory at Ainslie Park in the lunchtime kick-off to book their place in the fifth round.

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Shankland's absence immediately sets tongues wagging on social media amid rumours the striker is currently locked in talks with Gorgie officials over a contract extension. But reports on Friday suggested the capital outfit will need to offer a more lucrative package if the player is to commit to a new long-term deal.


Speculation over the 28-year-old's future remains a huge talking point, with Rangers expected to "test the water" this month. However, there has been NO bids tabled for Shankland thus far and despite his absence Naismith confirmed his absence was due to him being unwell.

"He hasn't been about for the last few days so we will see how he is. I don't know whether he will make Tuesday (against Dundee) or not. We will wait and see," the Hearts boss admitted. "He's been ill for two days. On the advice of the medical staff, he hasn't been in the building because he isn't wanting to spread it."

Providing an update on Shankland's contract situation, Naismith said on Friday: "We've had no offers, no off-the-record chat … there’s loads of this speculation that he might get this move or that and numbers get thrown around. We’ve had nothing as a club, but for Lawrence that can be hard to deal with.

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"Over the last few months he has dealt with it brilliantly, he understands the situation he is in. But as a club all we can do is show him how much value we think he has got, how much love we have for him and what he can achieve here."

Former Hibs striker Tam McManus believes Rangers will make a January swoop for Shankland. He wrote on X: "Don’t think there is any chance of Shankland signing a new deal at Hearts. This is his opportunity to land the last big contract of his career. So they have to sell him either this month or in the Summer to get good money. I’d expect Rangers to test the water this month."

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