Celtic have been linked with a number of strikers over the last couple of months as manager Neil Lennon and Head of Football Operations Nick Hammond look to bring in a forward to add depth to the squad beyond Odsonne Edouard.
Although the Hoops also have Leigh Griffiths and Vakoun Bayo available, the duo have yet to prove their fitness this term and arguably cannot be relied upon in the second half of the season.
One name that’s cropped up as a potential arrival is Lawrence Shankland.
The Daily Record reported earlier this season that Celtic were scouting the Dundee United striker, while website Football Insider claimed as recently as November that the Hoops continued to track him ahead of the January transfer window, after impressing in initial scouting reports.
However, Dundee United Sporting Director Tony Ashgar has officially ruled out his exit mid-season.
As quoted by The Sunday Post (22/12 print edition, Post Match supplement page 21), he said: “On top of the goals he has scored – and is still scoring – in the league, he’s been in Scotland squads, he has scored for Scotland, and we, as a club, have to be aware that interest will follow.
“But we’re in a position where we won’t be selling in January. That’s with the backing of the owners and the management group.
“The way we look at it is that we’ve got a job to do – to get promoted. That’s our goal, first and foremost. Lawrence himself is aware of that and he’s comfortable with it, as are his representatives.”
Impressive season suggests greater things
Although Shankland has yet to prove himself as a consistent and reliable player at Scottish Premiership level, his scoring consistency for both Dundee United and Ayr United over the last few years suggests he’s ready to take a step up in his career.
He’s scored 21 goals in 21 appearances for the Tannadice club this season so far (Transfermarkt), propelling them 13 points clear at the top of the Scottish Championship. They looked destined to return to the big time in Scotland.
Arguably Celtic would be taking something of a risk on the player should we pursue his signature given his lack of experience at our level, but the 24-year-old does appear to have that scoring hunger and poaching ability that could make him a success at Celtic Park.
In terms of January, it’s obviously not relevant to us, but it’ll be interesting to see if we’re one of the teams queuing up to sign him come the end of 2019/20.