Dundee’s Declan McDaid has backed his former team-mate Lawrence Shankland to prove the doubters wrong by taking the step up to international football in his stride.
The prolific Dundee United front man was rewarded for his goal-scoring exploits so far this season for Robbie Neilson’s side with a call-up for this week’s Scotland games with Russia and San Marino.
That decision has been questioned by some critics who believe he will struggle to make the jump from the Championship despite netting an incredible 15 times in just 13 appearances for the Tangerines.
However, McDaid, who played in the same Ayr team as Shankland for two seasons before joining Dundee this summer is confident the 24-year-old can make his mark for Steve Clarke’s national side.
The winger, who scored two goals of his own for the Dark Blues last weekend against Arbroath, said: “People are saying it’s a big jump to international level. Yes, it is but I don’t see why he can’t make that step up.
“Lawrence is now going to play with better players but if he gets a chance I think he’ll put it away.
“He is scoring all these goals right now and you won’t know until you give him a chance for Scotland.
“He’s been scoring his share of hat-tricks for United since the season got underway, so you might as well let him go for it. We’ve nothing to lose on that front.”
McDaid may now be on the opposite side of the Dundee divide from Shankland but he admitted he was still really pleased to see him doing well.
McDaid said: “I’m delighted for Lawrence – even though he’s in opposition now.
“He was brilliant for us when we were together at Ayr for those two years.
“It’s been unbelievable what he’s done already this season.
“That’s just what he does. He’s a phenomenal goal-scorer but he creates chances for himself as well, so he just doesn’t take easy goals.
“That’s the good thing about him. He has an all-round game suited for any challenge.”