Hearts debrief: The unsung hero, the man who must start each week and what vexed Celtic star said to Lawrence Shankland

Three Hearts takeaways from the impressive victory over Celtic at Tynecastle

Hearts moved closer to securing third place in the cinch Premiership with a 2-0 win over Celtic and we pick out three takeaways from a maroon persuasion from the match:

Hearts’ unsung hero

You could pick out lots of players for praise after Hearts’ excellent performance against Celtic, but Stephen Kingsley deserves special mention here. Firstly, the 29-year-old played the majority of the match with an injury, yet knowing Hearts were light on defensive cover on the bench, he soldiered on. Secondly, he was asked to play in the middle of a back-three – not a normal position for the ex-Swansea man – and he did it very well. Thirdly, he led the team. Frankie Kent and Craig Halkett are very vocal and organise when they are in the heart of defence and it was a concern for the Jambos that neither man would be present against the physical threat of Adam Idah in Celtic’s strikeforce. Yet Kingsley made sure Hearts defended well as a unit. His attributes and versatility make him such a key player for this team.

Celtic's Joe Hart and Hearts' Lawrence Shankland exchange words.Celtic's Joe Hart and Hearts' Lawrence Shankland exchange words.
Celtic's Joe Hart and Hearts' Lawrence Shankland exchange words.

The man who makes Hearts’ midfield tick

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Beni Baningime returned to the Hearts midfield after being used only as a substitute in the midweek derby draw with Hibs and while he was off-colour last weekend against Rangers in the 5-0 loss, he was excellent against Celtic. Baningime is a talented midfielder and, in this viewer’s eyes, makes Hearts a better team. He is diligent in possession, knows where to position himself, does not get fazed when under pressure and is combative. His tackle to set up the move for an ultimately disallowed goal by Lawrence Shankland was a great example of tenacity. Baningime spoke candidly about his contract situation in the build-up to this match and while it is in the balance whether he will remain at Tynecastle or not beyond this season, he can still play a pivotal part in the coming matches – starting against Morton next in the Scottish Cup.

Shanks and Hart banter

Celtic goalkeeper Joe Hart was not a happy bunny that Shankland did not take Hearts’ penalty. Instead Jorge Grant stepped up and coolly converted from the spot. Hart was quick to address Shankland about it, and the Scotland striker was asked afterwards how their conversation went. “I don’t think I could say it!” laughed Shankland afterwards. “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. I think it threw him, 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.” Shankland did hit the net later, though, belting home on 57 minutes to remind Hart of his capabilities.