Sad News: Steven Naismith leads Hearts penalty groans after Rangers loss…..

Hearts boss Steven Naismith led the Rangers penalty groans after League Cup defeat at Hampden – before being joined by Lawrence Shankland and Stephen Kingsley.

The former Ibrox striker made headlines last week when he lamented the decision to award Rangers a late penalty in the club’s last gasp 2-1 Scottish Premiership victory at Ibrox.

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And once again Steven Naismith was left angered by a penalty decision and branded the officiating “strange” after Hearts were defeated 3-1 by Rangers in the Scottish League Cup semi-finals.

Despite putting the penalty award down to “cute forward play” from Danilo on BBC Sportsound – the sharp Rangers striker touching the ball past Zander Clark to win the spot kick – Steven Naismith was slightly less gracious in the official post-match press conference.

Admitting it was a penalty kick, the Hearts boss fumed at the quick fire nature of awarding Rangers the penalty against the decision to send Stephen Kingsley off for a second yellow card.

With the decision eventually reversed through VAR – and Hearts striker Lawrence Shankland scoring from the spot – Steven Naismith appeared to suggest the penalty drama pointed to some kind of bias.

“The game changes on the penalty so quickly after half-time,” said Naismith. “Some people will say it was or it wasn’t a penalty but, as a forward, I think he anticipates the ball.

“As much as Zander is trying to get out of the way, his momentum takes him into his foot. If it was for us, I think I would be asking for it.

The Stephen Kingsley decision was) Crazy. To think he would try to dive when the ball is miles away, going out of the park. He was never going to get a penalty for a dive.

“It’s just strange that that seems to happen and first thought is red card when it is a clear kick.

“There has been a few penalties in recent weeks with that stamp on the foot, Aberdeen in Europe was one.

“Why was it not just penalty then we can review it? It was red card then we’ll review it, which was strange for me.

It’s not just Hearts manager Steven Naismith who’s been lamenting Rangers’ penalty kick award and the impact it had on the League Cup clash.

Jambos captain Lawrence Shankland – whose been routinely linked with a move to Rangers – branded the penalty kick award “soft” and suggested Danilo was already on his way down.

Hearts defender Stephen Kingsley – himself also once linked to Rangers – was a little more gracious come the final whistle and admitted the “penalty is a penalty”

However, after forcing Jack Butland into a fine shot from a dipping long-range effort at 2-0, the defender claims there is “bitter disappointment” from a Hearts POV after the game.

Rangers have now set up a Scottish League Cup Final clash with Aberdeen on December 17th with the club set to face off against another Ibrox-linked hitman at Hampden.


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