Dundee United striker Lawrence Shankland says they are ready to kick on and start firing on all cylinders as the second quarter of the season begins at St Johnstone today.
United travel to Perth having played each team once and sit sixth in the Premiership table. It has been a decent start, all told, but they have struggled to make and take chances of late.
A combination of injury and Scotland duty means star man Shankland has missed a chunk of their fixtures but he believes there is more to come from the Terrors.
“I think I’ve only played six games out of those so it’s been a bit stop-start,” the 25-year-old said.
“I’d, obviously, like to get a good run of games and I’m starting to get there now.
“The boys played the cup games as well and I missed out on them being away with Scotland but I’m getting there.
“I’m starting to feel sharper and, hopefully, in the next few games I’ll start to peak again.
“For the team it’s been a decent start, we’ve had a few good results and with other ones not so good.
“I’m sure, though, that if you’d said at the start of the season that after the first quarter we’d be sitting in sixth we’d all be quite happy.
“We’ve had a look at everybody now, we know what to expect and we can go on and give this next quarter a good go.”
The former Ayr United man admits the lack of opportunities and touches in the box has been frustrating but insists it is to be expected when the Tangerines are new to this level.
“Not just for me but as a team it’s frustrating,” he continued.
“We want to be scoring goals because it’s something we did well last year at a lower level.
“It’s been a wee bit of a learning curve for us probably. We’ve come up and are playing against different opposition in games you’re not so in control at some points.
“The chances are a lot more limited but I still think we could create more.
“As a striker you want to be in there getting touches and scoring goals. Essentially, that’s where you get most of your goals as a striker.”
Shankland is hopeful between himself, fellow-Scotland international Marc McNulty and Nicky Clark they can start setting the heather alight in the top flight.
In fact, Shanks feels partnerships are already blossoming.
He added: “When new signings come in you look to work a partnership – that goes for myself and Clarky.
“We had that before and both of us will look for that with Sparky if we get called on to play with him.
“He’s been good, a quality player and it’s always good to have those in the squad. It’s good to have that competition, too.
“The three of us know we’re good players on our day and it’s on us to go out there and prove we should be in the starting line-up, so it’s healthy.
“We’re all thriving on it – we all get on, it’s not as if there’s problems that way. We know the best players will be chosen to play on the day if they’ve trained well through the week.
“He scores goals. I know that of him from before seeing it at Hibs – it’s never bad to add a goalscorer to a squad.
“Hopefully he can chip in with a few because we’ve not been scoring many as a team this season.
“I still want to score goals. I want to be participating with him.
“We want to hit double figures as soon as possible, Clarky as well because he’s already had a good start with scoring so, hopefully, that continues as well.
“If we’ve got three strikers scoring goals it’s only a good thing for the team.”
Shankland is used to sleepless nights if he goes on what constitutes a drought for him, not scoring for two or three games, but he’s experiencing a whole new type of insomnia now.
He and girlfriend Nicole recently welcomed baby Eva into the world and Shankland is having to quickly get to know his way around a nappy.
He said: “It’s good – I’m lucky enough for it to happen to me, not everybody does in life.
“It’s a new experience but really good for the family.
“I was away on the camp and after the second game against Slovakia she started to get pains and stuff.
“I’d already discussed it with the Scotland staff and they knew the situation that I might need to go at some point.
“The initial plan was to go away, isolate and get a test again to be involved in the last game but she didn’t end up giving birth until the morning of the night of the game.
“I’d been at the hospital all night from the day before and wouldn’t have been fit to play so I just stayed up the road and left them to it.
“They’re both doing well, back in the house. It’s all going good and I’m diving in head first with the nappies.
“It’s tough going to get used to knowing what the baby wants and it’s all a new experience for me.
“She sleeps well sometimes, a couple of hours here and there, but we’ve got plenty of help with the family to get us through.”