Devastated Stephen Kingsley addresses Hearts Hampden showing and explains penalty situation

The Jambos defender feels the concession of quick goals harmed them after a solid first-half display
Rangers' Ben Davies fouls Hearts' Stephen Kingsley.Rangers' Ben Davies fouls Hearts' Stephen Kingsley.
Rangers' Ben Davies fouls Hearts' Stephen Kingsley.

Gutted Hearts defender Stephen Kingsley lamented a missed chance of reaching a showpiece final after the Jambos failed to trouble Rangers in the Viaplay Cup semi-final at Hampden.

The capital club kept their Ibrox counterparts quiet in the first 45 minutes but caved in at the start of the second, conceding three goals in a costly 15-minute spell to go down 3-1. James Tavernier scored twice – the opener coming in 49 minutes from the penalty spot – and Scott Wright’s effort was sandwiched between them, while a Lawrence Shankland spot-kick was merely a consolation for Steven Naismith’s men.

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"We're gutted,” said Kingsley. “We were really excited about the occasion, the opportunity we had. We defended well in the first half without really taking it to Rangers in possession, but out of possession, we were pretty solid. But in the second half we lose an early goal, the penalty kills us a little bit. We're playing catch up – you can't give a team like that the lead in such a big occasion. It's devastating.

"The penalty is a penalty and the free-kick is great from Tavernier. We're disappointed with our part, especially with the second goal. We're disappointed with the manner we lost them. We have to pick ourselves up now, we've got a massive game next week. We'll take it on the chin and learn from it.

Asked if the match felt like an opportunity missed, Kingsley continued: "Yeah. We felt really positive coming into the game. We did really well out of possession last week so we felt we could come here and try and ruffle them a little bit and try and keep it tight. We did it in the first half, we said going into the second half that we'd need to continue that and try and put our own spin on the game as well, try and control the game a wee bit more, create some chances of our own. But obviously the penalty changes everything. When you concede the second and third it's bitterly disappointing.”

Kingsley was involved in the incident that led to Hearts being awarded a penalty on 81 minutes. Brought down by Ben Davies, referee Nick Walsh originally gave the defender a second yellow card for simulation before VAR Willie Collum intervened and advised a rethink.

“I've checked my run in front of Lundstram and Davies, got a touch and was away to shoot but I've come off his [Davies'] blindside so he's contacted me on the left ankle,” explained Kingsley. “There was absolutely no doubt in my mind it was a penalty, I was going to get a shot away. Nick Walsh has decided to give the second yellow but I was adamant that it was going to be overturned, I knew I wasn't going anywhere because it was a certainty. I knew myself, let's just put it that way. I knew there was contact on me, I've got the mark to show it. It didn't really change much.”

Kingsley felt no sorry was required from Walsh. "There was no need to apologise,” he added.” He overturned it. That's what VAR is there for and at the end of the game, when I spoke to him, he said 'I'm glad that the right decision came out'. That's what it is there for. But in the end there's just bitter disappointment.”