Lawrence Shankland has dedicated his 53-yard wonder strike to the memory of Dundee United’s legendary manager Jim McLean.
It was a nice gesture from Shankland, who called it the best goal of his career so far and there have been a few contenders for that crown.
The Tannadice striker was just yards away from where the great McLean used to patrol the touchline when he fired a brilliant lob over the head of St Johnstone goalkeeper Zander Clark to earn the home team a 2-2 draw on Tuesday night.
Not from there…😱
Lawrence Shankland scored this stunner for Dundee United from just-past the half-way line in their 2-2 draw with St Johnstone at Tannadice! 🎯 pic.twitter.com/UvydMSAd5k
— Sky Sports Scotland (@ScotlandSky) January 12, 2021
It was a wonderful moment on a lovely evening when touching tributes were paid to McLean, whose death was announced on Boxing Day.
Shankland and his team-mates wore T-shirts during their warm-up displaying the former boss’s picture, while there were two separate minutes of applause – one before kick-off and one on the 83rd minute to mark the year of United’s Premier Division championship win.
Moment of magic
Shankland’s goal provided the moment of magic, which would have been appreciated by McLean as someone who loved players who could produce something special on the pitch.
The Scotland international said: “That goal can be for him.
“Obviously, it was an occasion for the club.
“We had the minute’s applause before the game and wore the T-shirts so that was a nice tribute to him.”
Asked where the long-distance lob, scored on 53 minutes to level up the game, ranked in his collection, Shankland placed it in the number one slot.
He said: “It is probably my best so far.
“I was just delighted to see it go in.
“I scored a good one against Partick Thistle when I was at Queen’s Park and then there was Hibs away (Scottish Cup replay for United last season) but that is probably the best.”
Shankland was asked, only half-jokingly, if he was now in the running for Fifa’s Puskas award that is given out for the “most beautiful or aesthetically pleasing” goal of the calendar year. The last winner was Son Heung-Min for Tottenham Hotspur against Burnley in the English Premier League.
A smiling Shankland replied: “I’ll take it if they are giving it out!”
He added: “You need to enjoy your own if you score one like that but I did see Kemar Roofe’s goal (for Rangers against Standard Liege) at the start of the season.
“David Beckham kind of started the trend of having a go and (Xabi) Alonso has done it too.
“I wouldn’t put myself in that category of player but I was delighted to score.”
Shankland revealed he had been keeping an eye on where Saints keeper Clark was standing throughout the game and fancied his chances of catching him out.
He said: “I had had a few glances prior to that to see his positioning when the ball was up the park.
“That time I didn’t get the chance to look properly but I had a rough idea where he might be.
“It was then just about the technique and getting it on target and thankfully it dropped in.
“I had an idea that it had a chance as soon as I hit it.
“I didn’t know if I had put too much on it and it would land on the roof of the net but I have seen the footage back and it just fell under the bar.
“I am happy it did!
“I think you need to always take a look (at keepers) because there is a chance to score, as I showed, if you get it on target.
“There are other things you might try and they will end up at the corner flag and you look daft but not this time,” he added.
“It is the old: ‘If you don’t shoot you don’t score’ thing.
“I had missed a good chance in the first half so I was probably frustrated.
“I was just looking for the opportunity to make up for it so I had a go.”
Being so close to the United technical area, Shankland found himself in the unusual position of being mobbed by the coaching staff before his teammates reached him to celebrate.
“Before I knew what was happening I was kind of in the dugout,” he said.
“I was keeping my eye on the ball and didn’t really know where I was, to be honest. I could have fallen over the water bottles, I think.
“Aye, it was good to see everybody’s reaction and I will probably enjoy the goal looking back on it more than I did at the time.”
As soon as the ball hit the back of the net, Shankland assumed a starring role on social media but he wasn’t getting caught up in the hullabaloo. He had more important things on his mind.
He explained: “I haven’t even looked at my phone to be honest because it’s just the missus telling me to hurry up and get home so we can have something to eat!”