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Football News: My two pence worth on Hearts' Lawrence Shankland

My two pence worth on Hearts' Lawrence Shankland

My two pence worth on Hearts' Lawrence Shankland:

My pals and I are from Ayr - I watched in person or on streams more than 50% of Shankland's matches for Ayr and have followed his career closely since then.

I remember he did an interview on BBC Scotland when he was starting to get noticed by the press towards the end of his time at Ayr and he talked about his aspirations to play for Scotland. A clueless Aberdeen fan ridiculed this, and I had a very long twitter argument with the clown telling him Shankland will 100% play for Scotland and that he was already good enough to be playing for us (this was early 2018).

Honestly, watching him live, you appreciate his movement and football intelligence. He tries things other plays wouldn't even think of. A game against Albion Rovers at Cliftonhill - the ball bounced on the half-way line with his back to goal (on a counterattack), he took it on the chest similar to Sima's recent volley and overhead kicked it with a defender on his back knowing the keeper was off his line.

Keeper was beat, sadly it came down into the roof of the net. About 2 feet away from being the most outrageous goal I've ever seen. Only one example of countless moments of sheer class he showed. His link up play has always been excellent - it's a lazy rhetoric from sportsound pundits/ media that his link up play has improved. It's always been there.

The season in the Scottish Premiership with Dundee United where he didn't score many - he was playing a much deeper role to come and collect the ball and make things happen because their tactics were basically chuck three strikers on and see what happens.


On sportsound last week, Ian McCall said he sat in ubiquitous chip in the west end with Gerrard and McAllister and tried to convince them to sign Shankland for nothing (contract was coming to an end at Ayr) and it "very nearly happened". Broke my heart hearing that I have been crying out for Rangers to sign him since the Ayr days.

Regarding pace - he's nowhere near as slow as he's made out to be, but to be honest, surely if he's deemed to be slow, that's a benefit for us? He doesn't rely on blistering pace to score goals - his quality does it (super Ally wasn't exactly Usain Bolt?). And a striker who doesn't rely on pace is going to have a longer career than someone who relies on it.

Plus playing against low blocks in the SPL - he doesn't need blistering pace. We will create enough chances in and around the box for him. How often are we counter attacking against the low block teams? (Yes, in Europe he might lack a yard of pace but Morelos wasn't exactly quick either and his best performances came in Europe due to his hold up and strength - something Shankland has in abundance).

He bangs in goals with left foot, right foot, header, in the box, out the box, volleys, bicycle kicks, outside of the boot - every type of goal. I am 100% certain if we had spent £4 million on Shankland in the summer instead of Lammers, Dessers, Danilo, we would be top of the league.

I understand people talking about resale value, but at the end of the day - as many posters have said, if he helps us to the league, the champions league riches justify the expenditure many times over.

And we're living in a fantasy land if we think every single signing must have the potential to sell for big money - that's an expensive gamble because you're going to continue spending £2-3 million on players like Matondo who cost a lot due to their apparent potential but are very much unfinished articles (how much has he cost between the fee and wages to essentially do nothing for us?).

The snobbery against SPL players needs to stop - our bread and butter is the league and signing the best in the league will give us a solid foundation to win the league.

Anyway to sign off, whether we sign him or not, I think we are in the safest pair of (giant) hands in Big Bad Bald Phil Clement, since the legendary Sir Walter Smith (that is not to compare them - Mr Rangers can have no equal for me) and I am very excited for the future under him.

Written by Will29 January 14 2024 15:28:06