In departing Dundee United for Belgium, Lawrence Shankland leaves behind thousands of Arabs with happy memories.
Largely, they’re of his goalscoring exploits, after the 26-year-old striker, signed from Ayr United on a free transfer in the summer of 2019, notched 40 times in 74 appearances in tangerine.
🦁 @Shankland_25 // Goal Machine 🔥
— SPFL (@spfl) August 11, 2021
Four goal-showing on league debut
‘Start as you mean to go on’ is a turn of phrase you could certainly apply to Shanks.
On his Terrors league debut, the goal machine cranked into gear with a fantastic four in their 4-1 win over Inverness at Tannadice on August 3, 2019.
It got their Championship title-winning campaign off to the best possible start as the forward showed his predatorial instincts to find the back of the net four times, twice either side of half time.
A hat-trick of headers followed by a brilliant, spinning fourth in the box with his left foot was an early sign of how important a player he’d be for then-boss Robbie Neilson’s men.
A quick scoring start earns Scotland call
OK, so this moment didn’t come in tangerine, but fifteen goals in 13 games to start the season earned Shankland his first call-up to the Scotland squad in October 2019.
Steve Clarke liked what he saw of Shanks and he quickly went about doing what he does best for the national team.
He made his debut with an encouraging 45-minute display in Russia and got his first goal soon after.
Albeit against lowly San Marino, the United marksman opened his international account with the fourth goal of a 6-0 Euro 2020 qualifying win at Hampden.
Despite picking up a further two caps against Israel and Slovakia, Shanks is yet to add to his Scotland tally and finds himself on the fringes after missing out on the squad for Euro 2020.
He’ll hope to work his way back into the fold with strong displays in Belgium.
Inverness winner that all but secures title
Although most were blissfully ignorant about what was to come with the coronavirus pandemic, everyone of a tangerine-persuasion was well aware of the importance of Shankland’s strike against Inverness in February last year.
He’s made a habit of scoring against the Highlanders, hasn’t he?
Grabbing the winner in a 2-1 success over the Caley Jags at Tannadice was, arguably, his most important in tangerine against any opposition, however.
It all but sealed the title for United as they moved three points further away from closest challengers Inverness and within touching distance of Premiership promotion.
Although they didn’t finish the job the way they would’ve wanted, there is no doubt Shankland’s strike allowed a team struggling for form at the time to relax before the leagues were shut down and fates decided amid Covid-19’s initial outbreak.
Stunning St Johnstone strike
It wasn’t the best season of Shankland’s career last term, as he scored, by his high standards, just nine goals.
However, there is no denying he bagged his finest United goal last campaign with an incredible half-way line effort against St Johnstone at Tannadice.
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
Spotting Zander Clark off his line, Shanks arrowed an effort from just inside his own half over the Saints goalkeeper’s head and into the back of the net.
It was sheer brilliance from the Glasgow-born forward to level the game up at 2-2 and earn the Tangerines a crucial point in their first season back in the Premiership for four years.
It is one of many moments that will live long in the memory for Arabs as they bid farewell to their talismanic goal-getter Lawrence Shankland.