Dundee United striker Lawrence Shankland has revealed how his injury absence brought him back to reality after a dream start to the season.
The Tangerines’ frontman grabbed the winning goal for United in their hard-earned 2-1 win over Morton at Cappielow on a wild Tuesday night in Greenock.
The goal was Shankland’s 20th for his club in this promotion campaign and came over a month since his last appearance in tangerine in the Dundee derby at Dens Park.
He admitted it felt good to be back after finally recovering from the thigh injury he suffered while in Cyprus on international duty with Scotland.
Sitting games out, both for club and country, hasn’t come easy to Shankland and the experience has brought him back off cloud nine.
Asked if it felt good to be back, he replied: “It does, yes.
“Being out kind of brings you back down to reality, you know what I mean?
“I made a right good start to the season and everything was going well.
“You then get injured and are out for a few weeks.
“That’s football, though.
“It was frustrating because I had a niggle in my hamstring through the week (with Scotland) and missed a day’s training.
“I got back fit and was buzzing but then my thigh went in the warm-up in Cyprus so I thought maybe it wasn’t meant to be for me that time.
“These things happen in football and you have to deal with it.
“It has been a frustrating time but I actually think I am back quicker than I anticipated so I can only be happy with that,” he added.
“It was important for me to get back scoring again.
“It was just good to get back out on to the pitch, to be honest.
“Obviously, getting the winner was great.”
The victory at Cappielow saw United play an impressive numbers game again: 10 points clear at the top; seven successive victories; 13 wins overall from 16 fixtures to make it 39 points; and a plus-23 goal difference that blows all the other clubs in the division out of the water.
Next up is another tricky one at Gayfield on Saturday against Arbroath, who moved ahead of Dundee into fifth spot with their midweek 1-1 draw at Ayr.
Shankland said: “Obviously, this is a tough week for the club and we have Arbroath still to come.
“We have had two hard games so far against Alloa and then Morton and we knew those were going to be difficult.
“It was much as we expected, coming down to Cappielow, and the weather was a bit wild at times.
“We knew how big a game it was and how big these three points would be if we could get them.
“We managed to do it so that’s us 10 clear and we need to keep going.
“We have another tough fixture away to Arbroath and I imagine it will be similar to the Morton game. We expect the same type of match and hopefully we can win again.”
The Scotland striker will be trying to score in his sixth successive match for United but he isn’t feeling any pressure.
He said: “I don’t think it’s a burden on me but I hope it is the case that I keep scoring in every game.
“I just take these things in my stride as a striker and don’t get too worried about it if I don’t score.
“If the team wins then that’s what really matters.”