Dundee United boss Robbie Neilson pleasantly surprised by Lawrence Shankland fitness

© SNSLawrence Shankland.
Lawrence Shankland.

Dundee United manager Robbie Neilson has been pleasantly surprised by the fitness level of his new striker Lawrence Shankland.

The former Ayr United and Aberdeen forward has been without a club since his deal at Somerset Park came to an end last season, two weeks earlier than the Tangerines finished up.

Shankland had started pre-season by himself while the rest of the United players were clocking up 10 days’ worth of work at their St Andrews training base.

But the 23-year-old, who played for 35 minutes in the win at Brechin and for 55 minutes at Dumbarton, is in good shape, according to Neilson.

“I was surprised,” the United boss admitted. “Because he finished a couple of weeks before us and then he was away on holiday.

“He did a wee bit of training himself and he’s come in and looked good.

“He did a test and was kind of mid-table for the rest of the squad.”

The one thing Neilson was sure about was Shankland’s ability to put the ball in the back of the net.

He came close to doing that in his Glebe park debut and then managed to score in the second game in two days at Dumbarton.

“Lawrence got his goal which was important for us, to get him off the mark,” said Neilson.

“He’s come in and done great.

“He had a couple of wee chances at Brechin and then he’s got his goal at Dumbarton.

“It breaks that wee duck and that’s good for him. But I was never in any doubt with Lawrence because he is a finisher. You saw that with the goal.

“I’m sure he will score a lot of goals for this football club.”