Rangers' defiant message as Hearts' Lawrence Shankland gives Hibs ratings and strong VAR statement issued

We pick out some of the best stories on Thursday evening from Scottish football

Shankland’s response to Hibs fan objects

Hearts striker Lawrence Shankland has shrugged aside his dramatic night at Tynecastle on Wednesday – despite a bottle opener being one of the objects that narrowly missed him after items rained down on his while taking a penalty against Hibs. The Jambos skipper netted a hotly-disputed spot-kick to earn a 1-1 draw in the Edinburgh derby, but the match was marred by fan disorder, particularly from within the away support. Cups, air pod headphones, lighters, vapes, pies and bottle opener were chucked at Shankland and other Hearts players. Taking to social media, the Scotland striker tried to laugh it off, posting on Instagram: “Some sort of spicy pie, 1/10. AirPods – expensive throw. Bottle opener – glad it missed. Pen – Top bins."

Aberdeen told to get back to basics

Lawrence Shankland celebrates in front of the Hibs fans after netting a penalty for Hearts.Lawrence Shankland celebrates in front of the Hibs fans after netting a penalty for Hearts.
Lawrence Shankland celebrates in front of the Hibs fans after netting a penalty for Hearts.

Angus MacDonald believes Aberdeen have to “get back to basics” to steer away from increasingly choppy waters. The 2-0 defeat by St Johnstone at Pittodrie on Wednesday night saw the home fans turn on their side and the board. Dons boss Neil Warnock is without a cinch Premiership win in five attempts since taking over from Barry Robson while Aberdeen are winless in nine league matches and consequently now sit only four points ahead of Ross County in the relegation zone. MacDonald said: “Results of late haven’t been great. Confidence is probably low. We just need to get back to basics. Get back to basics and start keeping clean sheets. I know it’s hard. I know it’s not for a lack of trying. Things just aren’t going our way at the moment. But we’ve got to stick in there, we’ve got to show some fight and go again on Saturday [against St Mirren] and hopefully get three points.”

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St Mirren statement on penalty claim

St Mirren claim the Scottish Football Association’s referee department admitted that a penalty claim in the 1-1 draw with Ross County on Tuesday night should have been checked by VAR. Buddies boss Stephen Robinson felt his side should have been awarded a penalty for a handball by County’s Ryan Leak. However, referee Chris Graham was not asked to review the incident. The Paisley club released a statement which read: “St Mirren can confirm they have spoken to the SFA’s referee department regarding the decision not to check for a penalty after a handball in Tuesday night’s draw with Ross County. The club believe VAR made an error by not recommending an on-field review following a handball by a Ross County defender in the first half. Having been allowed to review the full VAR audio and footage it is clear there has been a mistake in the process. There was a quick VAR review that centred around a shirt pull on James Bolton in the box. We also believe this could have been a penalty but understand that is subjective. However, the handball was a factual event, and the referee department has agreed that this should have led to an on-field review. While we welcome continued independent reviews aimed at making the process as robust as possible, and appreciate the openness and transparency from the referee department in reviewing this incident, we remain frustrated and disappointed that the correct process wasn’t followed on this occasion.”

Butland: We just keep going

Jack Butland claims Rangers just keeping look ahead to the next challenge after their 2-1 win against Kilmarnock on Wednesday night kept them two points clear of Celtic at the top of the cinch Premiership. “We just keep going,” said Butland. “Three points is all that matters at the minute. Yes, we’d love to have a clean sheet – penalties is frustrating – but we’re getting the wins and that’s what we need to do. Obviously it’s a lot better feeling than it was the last time we came here. There’s never any panic, we just remained calm, kept reiterating at half-time why we’re in the position we are in and how we’ve got there. And we just continued to do that in the second half, remained calm and in the end we got two brilliant finishes from Tav and Tom and I guess it’s three points that we were after.”

High praise for Hibs ace

Nick Montgomery heaped praise on January signing Emiliano Marcondes for helping Hibs start to look like “a proper team” in recent weeks. The 28-year-old Danish playmaker has impressed since joining on loan from Bournemouth and he notched his second goal in seven appearances during Wednesday’s 1-1 draw away to city rivals Hearts. “Emi is a top-class player, he scored his goal and had another one cleared off the line in the first half,” said Montgomery. “For someone who had not played for eight months, to speak to him and convince him to come here, to buy into what we’re doing, we can see the fans love him, the players love him – and he’s just a top, top player. He’s getting fitter every week in training and in games. He took a bit of knock in his first game at Kilmarnock, that set him back a bit. But you saw again against Hearts the quality that he brings. He’s also a guy who brings a calmness to the team. He really links up well with the front players. He’s been fantastic for us.”