Dundee United head coach Thomas Courts is confident his new-look side can give hitman Lawrence Shankland a fresh lease of life.
Courts is hopeful his United team can create the chances necessary for Shankland to fire his way back into the Scotland squad after missing out on Euro 2020.
The new Terrors boss has promised a more attacking side in the coming season than Arabs witnessed last time out, one in which goal-getter Shankland should thrive.
The 25-year-old found the back of the net nine times last term, a tally not deemed enough for Steve Clarke to include him in his final pool for the Euros.
That snub didn’t ward Shanks off supporting his team-mates in the finals but Courts is hopeful it is soon his talisman taking to the field for Scotland once more.
‘Give the ball to Shanks and he will score’
“Shanks, first and foremost, is a big Scotland fan,” the Tangerines gaffer said.
“He was at Hampden for the games and he was also down at Wembley.
“He is a patriotic Scotsman on and off the pitch.
“He will be wanting to force his way back into the Scotland squad.
“We all know he is more than capable of doing that and pushing on in the fight for a regular starting position in the Scotland team.
“We just have to make sure as a club and a team we do our bit and create chances for him.
“His track record tells you if you create chances for Shanks and our other strikers then he will score goals, as will our other strikers.”
Improved team player
Despite not setting the heather alight in front of goal, Courts believes Shankland developed as a player last season.
Courts was impressed with the selflessness the forward displayed but insists he’ll be looking to get Shanks in dangerous areas come what may.
“The good thing Shanks scored last season is that he is a team player,” he continued.
“He is happy to adapt to whatever the team needs. He earns a lot of respect from his team-mates and myself for that.
“At the same time, we know when he is most lethal and is at his most potent is in the opposition’s penalty box.
“That is where we want Shanks, in front of the opposition goals, because when he is there it is exciting for our fans and for us as a team.”
National focus for United
Beyond their totemic No 9, Courts says United are keen for more within their ranks to pick up international honours.
The likes of Logan Chalmers (Scotland) and Flo Hoti (Kosovo) picked up U/21 caps over the summer and Courts believes their example extends right down into the academy.
He commented: “As a club, we have always had a very good reputation for developing very good young players.
“Through the years, we have brought in or brought through a number of players who have gone on and shown they have an international pedigree.
“We want to give all our players the opportunity.
“Even at the age groups a lot of our players are involved at international level and that is something we want to continue.”