Lawrence Shankland reckons you can’t write off Scotland as they take on England tonight looking for three huge Euro 2020 points.
The Dundee United hitman, capped four times, missed out on Steve Clarke’s squad for the Scots’ first major finals in 23 years but has been cheering on from home.
He watched the Group D opener against the Czech Republic on Monday – a 2-0 defeat at Hampden – and was encouraged by the performance despite the result.
Shankland is hopeful Scotland can cause England a few problems at Wembley this evening as they look to keep their hopes of progression alive.
‘You can’t write this group of boys off’
“The only disappointing thing about the Czech Republic game was the score,” he said.
“Jack Hendry has hit the bar, Stuart Armstrong has seen another deflected over the top and we had other chances.
“On another day we could have won 4-2 so it was frustrating to see the boys lose that opening game.”
Of England, he continued: “The last couple of times we have given England a game.
“We lost 3-2 when Kenny Miller was there (2013) and we recently had a 2-2 draw at Hampden (2017).
“We have caused England problems. I am sure it will be the same on Friday night.
“The England team is full of Premier League players but we have seven or eight boys who were involved against the Czechs who are also playing at that level.
“Hopefully we can beat them, I certainly know you can’t write this group of boys off.”
Shanks supporting from stands
For all he’d love to be involved, being in the stadium tonight is the next best thing for Shanks.
The 25-year-old has flown down to London with his dad and will be in attendance at Wembley to cheer on his team-mates.
Shankland believes the presence of he and other players who missed out on the final cut at the match shows the spirit fostered in Clarke’s pool.
He added: “I am going down to Wembley with my dad – even though it is my mum’s birthday!
“I think there are a few of the boys who are not involved in this squad who are going down to the game.
“It just shows the bond that Steve Clarke has built up amongst all the players.
“We are all desperate to play for Scotland and to do well but even if you are not involved you want to be there to give the boys a bit of support and to see them do well.
“I have always been a big Scotland fan and to get the chance to play for Scotland was a dream come true.
“It is great to see the team back at a major finals and I am hoping they can go on and progress.”
Pre-season focus with United
Looking towards club matters, Shankland will report for pre-season training with the Tangerines on Monday.
It will be a new environment he is checking in to at St Andrews, with Tam Courts now head coach, but one the forward is relishing being a part of as he aims to shine for club and country.
He commented: “I want to do well for Dundee United and, hopefully, that can get me back into the Scotland squad.
“You can’t look back in football. I missed out on the Euros but if I can hit the ground running for United then hopefully I can be in the next camp.
“I just have to focus on Dundee United and scoring goals here.
“It is a new manager and a fresh start for all the boys. I have been impressed with Tam and I think we will do well under him.”