Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner. Facebook Messenger An icon of the facebook messenger app logo. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Facebook Messenger An icon of the Twitter app logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. WhatsApp Messenger An icon of the Whatsapp messenger app logo. Email An icon of an mail envelope. Copy link A decentered black square over a white square.

Stephen Kingsley urges Hearts to start taking games ‘by scruff of the neck’

Stephen Kingsley has not scored since April 2022 (Andrew Milligan/PA)
Stephen Kingsley has not scored since April 2022 (Andrew Milligan/PA)

Stephen Kingsley hopes improving Hearts can become more emphatic winners as they bid to assert themselves in the race for Europe.

The Jambos have climbed to fourth in the cinch Premiership after three successive league victories by a one-goal margin.

Hearts have comfortably the best defensive record in the league outside the Old Firm, with six clean sheets and only 12 goals conceded in their 13 matches.

However, Steven Naismith’s side have scored only 13 times, with only three teams, Ross County plus the bottom two of St Johnstone and Livingston, netting less.

“One thing we’ve spoken about, even though we’ve had three good results recently, is that we need to score more goals,” said defender Kingsley.

“We’ve done well defensively and kept a lot of clean sheets this season, so the next thing is to go and really take it by the scruff of the neck and kill teams off as early as we can and make it more enjoyable for ourselves.”

Hearts last weekend made it three league wins in a row for the first time since January 2022.

If they beat Kilmarnock at Rugby Park on Saturday – a result that would lift them up to third place – it will be the first time since the start of the 2018/19 season under Craig Levein that they have recorded four top-flight victories on the spin.

“It just shows that we’ve not really shown that level of consistency we need for a long time,” said Kingsley. “Two seasons ago we had a really good run of games where we went into games feeling like we were going to get a win or a positive result no matter how we played.

“We need to build ourselves back up to that. I don’t think any team has shown that level of consistency this season. That’s why the league is so tight and it’s why we’re sitting up in fourth after not having the best of results earlier in the season.

“I think whoever can show that bit of consistency will be the ones who do well come the end of the season.”

Despite being a defender, Kingsley netted 12 goals in his first two seasons at Hearts, including seven in the 2021/22 campaign.

Remarkably, however, the 29-year-old has not found the next in the past 19 months since his sensational free-kick in the Scottish Cup semi-final victory over Hibernian in April 2022.

“As long as we win I don’t care,” he said when asked about his goal drought. “I’d obviously love to get back on the score-sheet and help the boys out, but as long as I’m keeping clean sheets and the team’s winning, that’s the most important thing.

“I had a run of form a couple of seasons ago where I was getting loads of free-kicks and getting chances to score, but they’ve kind of dried up.

“I had a few free-kicks I was disappointed with earlier in the season, but my main job is to be a defender and we’ve been keeping clean sheets so I’m happy with that.

“I really couldn’t care who is scoring the goals as long as we’re winning games.”