Dundee United hitman Lawrence Shankland insists there is no gap in quality between them and the Premiership.
United sit 17 points clear at the top of the Championship and, as they look set to seal the title and promotion to the Premiership before long, proved their top-tier credentials in Sunday’s Scottish Cup meeting with Hibs.
Shankland was on target in the 2-2 fourth-round draw with the top-flight Hibees at Tannadice (see video below), cancelling out Christian Doidge’s opener before Louis Appere earned them a replay late on, and the 24-year-old feels they have nothing to worry about when they, inevitably, step up a level next season.
Asked if there was a noticeable gap in quality between the teams, Shanks told the Tele: “Not at all.
“Obviously, they’re quality and if you give them space, like we did Boyle at the edge of the box (to score Hibs’ second), they’ll punish you.
“You come to expect that but I don’t think there was too much in it that we need to be worried about.
“As long as you keep yourself in the game, you know you’ve got a chance to get back in it and we were able to force a replay.
“We’re just happy to still be in the cup. It was a tough tie at times. It was a bit end-to-end, as they always are.
“We expected that, though, with the quality of the opposition we were facing on Sunday and I think we showed we matched them for most of it.
“The first goal came at a good time, just before half-time, to get us level but we probably conceded at the worst time just into the second half.
“However, I thought we reacted well and kept ourselves in the game then big Louis came on and produced a bit of magic.”
Shankland continued by heaping praise on young attacker Appere for his tie-saving impact after replacing Peter Pawlett from the bench.
He added: “It was great for him, it was a terrific finish. He did really well when he came on and gave us a bit of a danger off the left-hand side.
“Pete had done really well up until then, considering he’s just back from injury, but I thought Louis gave us a wee spark and took his goal well.”
Scotland star Shanks was also pleased with his own display as he notched his 25th domestic goal of the season by getting the better of Hibs defender Lewis Stevenson and slotting home.
It was an impressive piece of play against such an experience defender and, although he enjoyed the goal, Shankland hopes they keep on coming however and whoever they are against.
“He did quite well to get goal-side of me but I managed to get my first touch in and just managed to nudge him.
“Thankfully enough he went down and I was able to roll it past him and the goalie so I was just delighted to see it go in.
“I’m delighted to score all the time and to get one in the Scottish Cup is great so it’s another positive from Sunday to take in our stride. All I’ve got in my mind is to keep scoring and see what I can get.
“I hope I do but it’s not as easy as going out there and scoring every week but I’m just happy to see them going in now and hope to continue that form.”
Morton call in to Tannadice in the league on Saturday before United and Hibs’ cup replay at Easter Road next Tuesday.
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It will be tough but Shankland believes they can fight on both fronts.
“I think it has to be a target. It’s the Scottish Cup and everybody wants to be in it. We’re still in it just now and it will be a tough tie down at Easter Road but it’s one we’re looking forward to, taking confidence from Saturday.”