Celtic have been scoring plenty goals this season, Saturday’s blip against Hibernian aside. They are also well covered in forward areas, Odsonne Edouard is undoubted first choice with Leigh Griffiths and Vakoun Issouf Bayo as back-ups. Neil Lennon’s post-match comments that the club are working “feverishly” behind the scenes raised a few eyebrows as reported in The Daily Express.
The Daily Record has reported that both city rivals, Rangers and Celtic were watching Dundee United forward, Lawrence Shankland as he scored a hat-trick against Morton at the weekend. The 24-year-old forward certainly grabbed his opportunity to impress with both hands.
Shankland scored 60 goals in 73 games for Ayr United prior to joining Dundee United and was available on a free contract in the summer. He had been linked with a move to Rangers but they decided that Jermain Defoe and Alfredo Morelos were ample cover – they also signed Greg Stewart.
The Dundee United forward continues to be linked with both clubs but why? He has 15 goals for the season thus far but it is at a lower level including goals against part-time clubs. He is 24 now and although players develop at different rates there is a reason why neither Glasgow club took the gamble on him in the summer when he was available for free.
Shankland simply isn’t good enough technically to lead the line for a club looking to qualify for the Champions League and compete in the Europa League. Celtic, and in fact Rangers, both have international forwards in their squads, Shankland, played 17 games in Scotland’s top flight without scoring.
His form has attracted a lot of attention and the wild claims of Ally McCoist that he should be called up for Scotland is probably the hottest take of them all. He’s a good player in the league that he’s playing in, but it’s the second tier in Scotland. Many would argue that the players in the top tier aren’t good enough for international football!
Celtic will be monitoring players up and down the country and the scouting team wouldn’t be doing its job if it wasn’t watching a player in such good form but it would still be a surprise if they made a move for Shankland.
There is also the question of his allegiances, a known Rangers fan, his signing as a third or even fourth choice striker may be seen as a waste of money, he would instantly be under the microscope.
Celtic will be needing reinforcements soon but Shankland is neither good enough nor the right profile of player needed to take the club to the next level and see a return to Champions League football where the Paradise faithful long to return.