Dundee United striker Lawrence Shankland, who grew up supporting Rangers and was linked with Ibrox before his move to Tannadice, is finally hitting form in the Premiership.
Shankland scored prolifically in the lower divisions of Scottish football for several seasons, netting a remarkable 61 goals and notching 24 assists in 73 appearances during his time at Ayr United.
Unsurprisingly, the former Queen’s Park youth’s exploits reportedly attracted attention from a number of big clubs, including Rangers and Celtic [Scottish Sun].
Given that Shankland grew up supporting the Gers, a dream transfer to Ibrox looked on the cards. Yet, despite his incredible numbers, many supporters weren’t convinced he would produce in the top flight and it seems, ultimately, neither was the club’s recruitment team.
Dundee United snapped up Shankland in 2019 and his goals earned him an international call up, while the Terrors won the Championship at a canter.
Gers scouts reportedly watched him again as he tore up the second tier at United [Daily Record] but once more no move was made and he’s now over halfway through his first season in the top-flight.
Over the opening months of the campaign, he struggled in front of goal and the doubts previously expressed by Rangers fans appeared to be justified.
However, the Scotland international has finally started to hit form.
He scored the crucial opening goal for United in a 2-0 win at Ross County last weekend before netting an impressive brace in a 3-0 home triumph over Livingston on Saturday.
Shankland slid a first-time finish under Max Stryjek to put his side two goals up in the 35th minute and then completed the scoring with an outstanding solo goal seven minutes from time.
The 25-year-old ran onto his own header before cutting inside and bending a finish into the top right corner from the left side of the box.
Shankland now has seven goals from 24 Premiership appearances and while those numbers are a long way off what he produced in the lower leagues, his return of three in his last two outings suggests he could finish the campaign strongly.
With Jermain Defoe out of contract in the summer and Alfredo Morelos likely to be sold, a purple patch from the striker could conceivably alert the Gers ahead of the summer window.