Lawrence Shankland has won the PFA Scotland Premiership Player of the Year award.

The Heart of Midlothian captain is the league's top scorer with 21 goals in 34 appearances for the campaign with three games left to be played.

Shankland received the award, voted for by his fellow top-flight players, at a ceremony on Sunday evening, becoming the first non-Old Firm player to win since Motherwell striker Michael Higdon achieved the feat in 2012/13, and only the second since 1990.

READ MORE: The Lawrence Shankland story: From Queen's Park to Hearts and Scotland star

The centre-forward was on the final shortlist alongside Celic midfielder Matt O'Riley and Rangers pair James Tavernier and Jack Butland, but came out on top to become the first Hearts player to achieve the honour.

Shankland has taken the road less travelled to the top since being released by Aberdeen in 2017. He was prolific at Ayr United and Dundee United before moving to the capital in 2022 following a stint in Belgium with Beerschot.

“I had a think about it today – I think it was maybe five or six years ago today that I was here picking up the League One Player of the Year award [with Ayr United],” Shankland told Sky Sports.

“I was delighted with that so the journey I’ve been on back to the Premiership to be the Premiership’s player of the season, it’s a very proud moment.

“I think every journey is different for people in their career, and sometimes it is a wee bit up and down. For me it has been quite a lot but you just need to plod on, work hard on what you need to work on, and hopefully it pays off and you get rewards like this.”

READ MORE: Lawrence Shankland next Hearts milestones - 66-year wait, top scorer, 30 goals?

Shankland, whose contract expires in the summer of 2025, was then asked when he will consider his long-term future at Tynecastle Park.

“At the end of the season, I think it’ll be,” he replied. “Once we get the rest of the games out of the way.

“We have managed to succeed in our objective – securing third and getting European football – and now we can look forward to the next few games. At the end of the season obviously there will be conversations had as there are at the end of every season.

“But I am in the position now where I am in the last year of my contract and the conversation will need to be had at some point. We can deal with that in the future but for now I’m just going to enjoy this moment.”