HEARTS captain Lawrence Shankland tonight laughed off being branded a “s****bag” by Celtic goalkeeper Joe Hart for not taking a penalty in the cinch Premiership match at Tynecastle.

Hart directed the foul jibe at Shankland after the home team were awarded a controversial spot kick by referee Don Robertson for a Tomoki Iwata handball shortly before half-time.

The Scotland striker felt the former England internationalist was probably annoyed because he will have been studying what he did in those situations in the build-up to the league encounter in Gorgie.

Hearts midfielder Jorge Grant, who has taken penalties regularly for Steven Naismith’s side in the past, stepped up and converted from 12 yards to put the hosts 1-0 ahead. 

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Asked what his opponent had shouted at him following the 2-0 win, Shankland said: “I don’t think I could say it! But, no, he was obviously having a bit of banter. He was clearly expecting me to take the penalty and had probably studied me all week.

“So, I think it probably threw him a bit when Jorge hit it, which can sometimes be a good thing. Previous to today, I’d obviously hit the last two, but Jorge wasn’t on the pitch.

“He hit one after I’d missed three in a row against Aberdeen and scored, so there’s no reason for him not to hit them when he’s not on the pitch. It’s something I’m quite comfortable with and there was no bickering about it. I was quite happy for him to go and score.”

The Herald: Shankland added: “But I think it threw him (Hart). He would’ve made his mind up where he was going if I was taking the penalty. Studied it a bit. But Jorge went up composed and scored. It’s just part and parcel of the game. I would’ve probably said the same thing.

“A couple of the outfield players had asked if I’d bottled it as well. I would’ve been asking as well if I’d been in their position. But that’s football. That’s what it’s all about. There’s always that bit of banter between the players on the pitch. But I was confident in Jorge to go and score.”

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Shankland had a goal in added-on time at the end of the first half disallowed for offside – but he made amends in the second half when he put Hearts 2-0 ahead with his 27th goal of the season after his team mate Calum Neiuwenhof had miscued an attempt. 

“It was just about me getting into positions,” he said. “That and obviously Nieuwenhof’s amazing assist! I don’t actually know how the ball went back in my direction. But thankfully enough it came into my path and I managed to stick it away.

“I was delighted to get the goal. Obviously, there was frustration with the first one. I thought I was onside. But I think (Cameron) Carter Vickers did really well to step up. It was clever defending from him. Alan (Forrest) took four days to give me the pass – I’ll be having words with him! But we got there in the end.”

Scotland manager Steve Clarke, who will name his squad for the friendlies against the Netherlands and Northern Ireland imminently, was in the crowd at Tynecastle along with his assistant John Carver. 

Shankland is pleased he managed to scored his 10th game in 10 appearances with Clarke in attendance - and reckons Hearts goalkeeper Zander Clark will have impressed the national team coaching staff too.  

"All you can do is play for your club and play at the level you are playing at, do as well as you can," he said. "At this moment in time I feel like I am doing pretty well. Leading the line for Hearts, scoring goals and being a leader as well. I am giving myself a good opportunity.

"I think Zander's been brilliant from the minute he's come into the team. There was the whole thing with Craigy (Gordon) coming back from injury. That adds an added pressure as Craigy is such a good goalkeeper. For me Zander's not doing anything to lose his place.

"He's been brilliant for us, really big saves in big moments. He's a top goalie and he shows that. He's had the chance to play at international level and that's been good for him."