Lawrence Shankland could do worse than take Billy Dodds’ advice.
After all, Dodds knows a thing or two about scoring goals for Dundee United and Scotland.
The former Terrors striker notched seven times in 26 caps for his country over a five-year international career and found the net 41 times in two spells at Tannadice.
With 36 in 65 games in tangerine, Shankland is well on his way to eclipsing Doddsy’s club total in quick fashion.
However, with his ridiculous scoring form at Championship level having tapered out since the Tangerines’ return to the Premiership, the 25-year-old has found himself out of the national team picture of late.
The timing couldn’t be worse for Shanks, with the Scots qualifying for their first major finals since the France 1998 World Cup this summer.
The former Ayr United marksman was a part of the group that led Scotland back to tournament football, scoring once in four caps before losing his place to the likes of Lyndon Dykes and Che Adams.
With the news boss Steve Clarke can now select a 26-man squad for the games at Hampden and Wembley rather than the usual 23, the door may well be ajar for Shankland to sneak in.
Dodds agrees and told United’s talisman to not give up hope.
‘Just keep scoring his goals and I think there’s still a huge chance for him to get in the Scotland squad in the future’
“I think it’s still possible for him,” he said.
“For United, it was their first season back and it was about making sure they stayed in the Premiership, which they’ve done.
“They’ve maybe got another year to get back to what they were.
“All I would advise Lawrence is keep working.
“He’s a goalscorer, a real natural, and I love the way he’s developing his game in terms of awareness and the thinking side of the game.
“With Lawrence, like a lot of goalscorers, it’s about scoring to be happy.
“I think he started off his career like that at St Mirren and Ayr United but he’s got so much more to his game now.
“He’s really getting intelligent so it’s coming. If he gets the head down and works hard anything can happen.
“Just keep scoring his goals and I think there’s still a huge chance for him to get in the Scotland squad in the future.
“Whether that’s enough to get him in the Euro squad, I don’t know, but don’t get disappointed about it and keep working away.”
United spell helped launch Doddsy’s Scotland career
Dodds, who also turned out for city rivals Dundee from 1989-94, credits his time at United for helping launch his Scotland career.
Club legend Paul Sturrock, who was Dodds’ boss in his first spell at the club from 1998-99, came in for special praise.
The 52-year-old loved his time in tangerine, including a second stint from 2003-06, and insists there was no animosity at his ‘crossing the street’ from the Dark Blues.
“The Dundee fans were fine with me when I did that,” he added.
“They just knew that it wasn’t my fault. I’d moved to St Johnstone, gone to Aberdeen and then they’d let me go to United.
“At that time in my life I was experienced as a player and nothing really fazed me.
“Paul Sturrock was brilliant for me and that spell got me in the Scotland squad.
“I started playing out my skin – it was probably the best footballing spell of my career.”
Dodds would get a dream move to boyhood heroes Rangers on the back of his exploits in front of goal for the Terrors and believes his time at the club helped him mature on and off the pitch.
He continued: “That’s how good it was – it got me my move to Rangers.
“It wasn’t just good for me because it was Rangers; Celtic nearly signed me twice as well.
“It was just a case of wanting to play at the top level and win honours for the big clubs.
“That’s where I’d worked hard to get to but United gave me that platform.
“When I was playing in Dundee derbies for Dundee I was young, naïve and got caught up in things.
“I got sent off for kicking Freddy Van der Hoorn off the ball but when it flipped and I was at United nothing fazed me.
“I didn’t have to concern myself with off the field things.”