The 112-goal Lawrence Shankland and Alan Forrest bond that will give Hearts huge confidence
‘How in hell did Hearts win that 3-0?’ was the general consensus following the Gorgie side's victory over Motherwell at Fir Park.
While the Steelmen were wayward, profligate, denied by Craig Gordon heroics, the woodwork and lacked quality in front of goal across 25 shots, the visitors were clinical. They weren't at their best and didn’t have to be to win, they just had to take the chances that they created.
The identity of the two goal scorers was of particular interest.
Lawrence Shankland netted his sixth goal of the season, while Alan Forrest’s brace took him to four since joining from Livingston. Both were also on target during the week when Hearts picked up their first ever Europa Conference League victory with a 2-0 win over RFS in Riga.
The duo even combined for the second. A well crafted move down the right hand-side concluded with the former setting up the latter to pass a shot into the corner of the net.
A winger and striker combining is, on the face of it, pretty unremarkable. It happens up and down the country. Yet this duo have previous, just ask Ayr United fans.
The pair were team-mates in Ayrshire for two seasons as the team won League One then finished in the play-offs in the Championship.
While they have 10 goal contributions – goals and assists – between them this campaign they have some way to go before they reach their Ayr United levels.
In the League One winning-campaign, they contributed to 56 goals in all competitions. Forrest notched 13 goals and assists and Shankland’s tally reached an incredible 43.
The following campaign that number dropped to 46 although it was impacted by an injury lay-off for Forrest who played nine fewer games. He contributed to four goals and Shankland reaching 42 despite playing at a higher level.
The pair have added another dimension to the Hearts attack which is averaging 1.86 goals per game in the league, increased from 1.42 per game last season in the Premiership.
Their strong bond off the field is replicated on it with the early stages of their Hearts career encouraging to Robbie Neilson and fans with the belief that there is even more to come.
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