Lawrence Shankland looks to pile on Rangers misery before Hearts captain throws out 'bad team' narrative

Lawrence Shankland says Hearts can pile the agony on for Rangers and Philippe Clement at Hampden tomorrow - with a little help from Ross County and Dundee.

The Jambos skipper has urged his team mates to ensure they leave their Scottish Cup semi final clash with no regrets after bowing out of their last Hampden clash against Rangers with a whimper. And he reckons there’s reason to believe they can book a spot in the final this time round.

Clement’s side have seen their title charge hit the skids over the past week with a 3-2 defeat at Ross County followed up by a woeful performance in the goalless draw at Dundee making it three without a win after the 3-3 draw with Celtic. Shankland - the top flight’s top scorer - knows the Ibrox side are still heavy favourites to reach the final. But he revealed Hearts are aiming to add to their woes by targeting the weak areas brutally exposed in recent weeks.

He said: “There is a lot of pressure on the game, for both teams. Rangers’ last two results will add to that due to the scrutiny they will be under in the league. We can maybe use it to our advantage and if the pressure increases throughout the game it could help us. But it is not something we can go and rely on, we need to put our game plan.

“They’ve not become a bad team overnight. But there is definitely opportunity there and you need to analyse how teams have caused them problems and see if you can implement that in the game at the weekend and if you can it can give you a chance.

“Of course, it is better to play them now rather than when they are firing on all cylinders but I wouldn’t act as if it is going to be an easier game than it would usually be. Obviously some teams have had success against them recently. There might be some clues there for us to look at and analyse.”

Incredibly Hearts have never beaten Rangers at the national stadium in their 150-year history. The last meeting came in November’s Viaplay Cup semi final in which Philippe Clement’s side strolled to a 3-1 win. Shankland, who netted one of his 28 goals this season in that encounter, insists the regret of that no-show can drive Steven Naismith’s side on to ensure there’s no repeat.

He said: “The feeling of regret when you came off the pitch was probably the biggest thing. We felt like we didn’t really give it a go. Whether that be down to our game plan not working or just didn’t feel right or it was a wee bit off.

“I think that is the first thing we will look to improve on. Try and put a bit of a stamp on the game and give ourselves a chance of going through. We felt as a group we didn’t give ourselves the best chance that day.”