Dundee United star Lawrence Shankland lit up Scottish football on Tuesday night with his wonder goal against St Johnstone.
The Tangerines and Scotland ace netted one of the strikes of the season when he collected a pass from Louis Appere on the right wing, just inside the Saints half (52.98 yards out according to Opta), before catching Zander Clark out with a spectacular shot.
We can't get enough of this Goal of the Season c̶o̶n̶t̶e̶n̶d̶e̶r̶ winner 😍
— Dundee United FC (@dundeeunitedfc) January 13, 2021
Unofficial footage of it quickly went viral, with supporters raving about the 25-year-old’s moment of genius in the 2-2 draw.
It was a special goal on a night when United’s most special manager, Jim McLean, was honoured.
Shankland and his team-mates paid their respects to the Tannadice legend by wearing tribute t-shirts during the warm-up.
And it was fitting that he unleashed his goal-of-the-season contender from near the touchline where McLean reigned supreme for over two decades.
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
The striker told DUTV: “I’d had a glance at the keeper’s position a few times as the ball went up the pitch and he was quite far off.
“That time, I didn’t have the chance to look but I had an idea he might’ve been off his line.
‘You’ve got to be happy with it’
“It was good touch by big Louis (Appere), it was sitting nice and I just thought, why not? I’m glad I did.
“It’d have been great (to score it in front of the fans).
“But I’m happy to do it in front of a few cardboard cut-outs. If you score goals like that, you’ve got to be happy with it.”
Scotland legend James McFadden – no stranger to the spectacular during his illustrious playing career – was blown away by what he’d seen.
Speaking on BBC Sportsound, he said: “Sensational. Brilliant finish. Zander Clark running back, absolutely no chance.
“Magnificent from Lawrence Shankland.
“For him to have the vision to see it first of all, but then the audacity to try it and the execution, was absolutely magnificent.”
Looking at the numbers
In truth, the goal came on an evening that was far from Shankland’s finest in a Dundee United shirt.
And the Opta data was unforgiving: total duels 13 (including four in the air), duels won zero; four fouls conceded (the most in United’s team) and five touches in the opposition box (compared to 10 for St Johnstone frontman Guy Melamed), all in the first half.
But the stat that mattered most was this: three shots, one on target, one goal.
In September, The Courier and Evening Telegraph’s Ian Roache compiled a list of Shankland’s top five United goals following his stunning volley at home to St Mirren.
Of that strike, he wrote: “The technique he showed to twist his body and then almost cushion the volley was sublime.”
Also on the list was the Scottish Cup screamer against Hibs (January 2020) and his fine solo goal at Dens Park against Dundee (November 2019).
— Ayr United (@AyrUnitedFC) July 29, 2018
One of Shankland’s finest efforts to date was for Ayr United against Partick Thistle in July 2018.
That saw him catch out former United keeper Cammy Bell with an audacious first-time strike from distance.
But it’s fair to say, even as his career progresses, Tuesday night’s stunner will take a bit of beating.
‘A ridiculous moment’
United manager Micky Mellon – who watched in amazement just yards away – called it a “special” piece of play.
He said: “It was like a golfer striking a drive. It was that kind of noise.
“It was so straight and so true that you think to yourself that’s got a chance of going in.
“It was a ridiculous moment to see it hit the back of the net.
“I’m pleased I’ve seen it. I don’t know how you measure great goals but this one was certainly fantastic.
“Everyone should be celebrating what was a fantastic moment.”
And even Saints boss Callum Davidson praised Shankland’s second-half equaliser.
He added: “I didn’t think he was going to shoot but it was just a wonder goal and sometimes you have to hold your hands up.
“He has the capability to do that and he showed that tonight.”