They didn’t share much game time when they were together at Aberdeen but skipper Mark Reynolds expects to see plenty of Lawrence Shankland now they’re team-mates at Dundee United.
And Reynolds believes the newly-captured striker can play a major role in the Tangerines promotion push this season.
“Shanks was on loan a fair bit while I was at Aberdeen but he was still in about it and I still saw a fair bit of him,” said Reynolds.
“It was the first time he’d been away from home, which can be hard but he was a good big lad, ideal round the changing-room and with a good head on his shoulders.
“He was great with the boys but he could play, too. You could see the attributes that were there. He was just unlucky that it was a strong Aberdeen team he was trying to get into.
“We could play and we were winning week-in, week-out, so there weren’t many opportunities. So he was allowed to go out on loan to get that experience to come back and challenge.
“There are a lot of things in football you can’t control like that. So he decided to go to Ayr in search of that game time, which he did, and established himself as a player that can score 20 to 30 goals a season for you at this level.
“No disrespect to Ayr but I think he has looked to come to a bigger team, with a bigger support and a bigger history to try to get a platform to kick his career on that bit further.
“He’s gone about it the right way and, if things pan out for him, it could be the right move.”
Reynolds sees the acquisition of Shankland as another sign that what’s being built at Tannadice right now is a fix that will benefit the club for years to come.
And it was that long-term view that persuaded him to make last season’s loan move from Aberdeen a permanent arrangement.
Reynolds added: “When I came here there was a plan. The initial hope was to get promoted but, if we didn’t manage, we knew we’d have six months of getting to know each other and getting to know the manager.
“I think you can see hints of that now. This is not just a team that has been thrown together.
“It’s a team that has worked hard to try to play a certain style of football.
“There have been periods where it has certainly been starting to click.”
The progress that’s made so far has left Reynolds with a feeling of eager anticipation for what lies ahead in the 2019/20 campaign but also with a focus on the job in hand.
“We’re excited but we have to try and insulate ourselves a wee bit because we’ve got a job to do.
“The supporters have got every right to dream of what-ifs, of promotions and ‘this time in May,’ but for us it’s about not getting too far ahead of ourselves.
“This, just now, has been six months in the making.
“We’ve had a few weeks off, we’ve come back and we’ve worked hard on how we want to go forward.
“But we feel good, it’s a good changing-room – which helps.
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“The players that have come in have complemented the boys that are already there, which is big.
“Sometimes, when you’re trying to work quickly towards something, you can sign just for the sake of signing, just to bring bodies in and keep the supporters happy.
“But the players we’ve added have all got quality.
“They’re all here to stake a claim for a starting spot, so we’re feeling good.
“The squad’s looking deep, which I think we’re going to need because this is going to be a tough league to get out of this year – but we’re looking forward to it.”