The Gorgie men traveled to Glasgow on league duty on Wednesday night and Neilson announced the changes to the team’s starting line-up, making six changes from Saturday’s 3-0 win over St Johnstone.
Shankland, who is the Hearts’ top scorer this season and wore the captain’s armband in Craig Gordon’s absence, suffered a hit in the build-up to the game, as did midfielder Robert Snodgrass and full-back Alex Cochrane.
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A bout of sickness in the squad forced Neilson’s hand further for the trip to Celtic Park and while the Hearts head coach expects most of those missing to return for this weekend’s Scottish Cup quarter-finals, he admits he is unsure whether Shankland will do this or not will be fit.
Speaking to BBC Scotland ahead of the start of the Parkhead competition, Neilson was asked about the changes to his starting XI.
He explained: “A lot of them are being enforced – Lawrence, Robert Snodgrass and Alex Cochrane have all sustained injuries. There was also a small mistake in the group.
“And then there are one or two who are also rested. It’s an opportunity to try to get into the team and it’s a great opportunity for them.
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“I hope we have all three back [for this weekend’s Scottish Cup tie at Tynecastle]. Of the three, Lawrence is likely to be the touch-and-go, the other two will likely be fine.
“The league is important to us. Third place guarantees us European football in the group stage, so it’s really important that we come here with the strongest team that we thought we could field for this game.
“Coming here you need energy, you need legs in midfield. We believe the three in the middle will give it to us.”
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https://www.heraldscotland.com/sport/23373273.robbie-neilson-provides-lawrence-shankland-injury-update/?ref=rss Robbie Neilson updates Lawrence Shankland on injuries