Scotland striker Lawrence Shankland admits he is desperate to get back to football and scoring goals for Dundee United in the hope he will be selected for next month’s crucial Euro 2020 play-off clash with Israel.
The 25-year-old has not played since the opening Premiership game against St Johnstone on August 1 due to a persistent ankle complaint.
Shankland had to pull out of national team boss Steve Clarke’s squad for the UEFA Nations League clashes with Israel tomorrow and the Czech Republic three days later.
But the former Aberdeen and Ayr United marksman is determined to be available for the October 8 semi-final play-off against the Israelis at Hampden.
Shankland said: “I need to concentrate on getting myself fit.
“But when I do that and get myself back in the team hopefully I can hit the ground running and get my season started, score some goals, be on form and be in contention for the squad.
“If you get selected it’s up to you to go and earn yourself a place in the team. When you’re in there it’s up to you to keep it.
“There is a lot for me to look forward to when I’m back and it is something I’m looking at (the October games).
“I’m gutted to have to pull out but these things happens.
“When you’re younger it’s something you always want to be a part of and fortunately that came for me last season.”
Shankland – who notched 29 goals last season, including his first Scotland strike against San Marino eleven months ago – has been absent from United’s last five Premiership matches but insists he is making inroads in his bid to return to fitness.
Speaking to the BBC, he added: “Hopefully I’m close to a return, I’ve spent the last few weeks with an ice machine around my ankle and trying to do a wee bit of running here and there.
“It seems to be progressing in the right way, it’s just taking a wee bit of more time than anticipated but we’re getting there.”