After his striker’s blistering start to the season, Robbie Neilson believes “Stop Shankland” will become a feature of opposition tactics in most Dundee United games.
In just two league outings, big summer signing Lawrence Shankland has already hit an impressive five goals for his new club, including all four in the opening win against Inverness Caley Thistle.
He also got the Tangerines’ equaliser against Partick Thistle on Friday night and looked set for a second until supersub Peter Pawlett poked his shot the final few inches over the line to make sure of the winning goal.
That start, plus the reputation he earned by hitting 34 goals for Ayr United last term, means his manager is well aware he’ll come in for special attention on opposition tactics boards in the run-up to games against United.
“When somebody scores four goals the week before, right away the manger is going to work all week to make sure he doesn’t get the ball – and that’s what happened with Thistle,” said Robbie.
“Teams will look to get people on top of him but we will continue to try to get the ball to him.
“I thought in the second half (on Friday) we were better, passed the ball better and got it to the attacking boys.
“We went through the midfield more and opened the game up.”
Meanwhile, tickets for the derby against Dundee in a fortnight are already selling well.
Home fans have been allocated the Eddie Thompson Stand, the George Fox Stand and the Shed End, which, in the past, has been reserved for away supporters for games like derbies and against the Old Firm.
Officials from United and Dundee will be putting their heads together before that big game to decide who plays when in the third round of the Tunnock’s Caramel Wafer Cup next month.
United have been drawn to face Arbroath, while Dundee play Elgin City, both at home. The ties are pencilled in for the weekend of September 7-8 and discussions will take place to decide who’ll play on which day.
With Challenge Cup ties attracting small crowds, one alternative could be staggered kick-offs to allow both to play on the Saturday.