CALUM CROWE: Lawrence Shankland still has plenty to offer Scotland despite missing golden chance in 4-0 drubbing by the Netherlands - don't write off Hearts forward for Euro 2024


Given the lethal form he has shown for Hearts this season, plenty of Scotland fans were banging the drum for Lawrence Shankland to start this friendly against Holland.

They duly got their wish as Steve Clarke handed Shankland just his second start for the national team – and his first since October 2019.

How would Shankland’s red-hot form fare in the land of Oranje? How would he cope with playing against the man mountain that is Virgil van Dijk?

But it’ll be the chance he was presented with on 62 minutes that will be running through his mind for days.

Scotland fans got their wish when Lawrence Shankland started in the 4-0 loss to the Netherlands

Scotland fans got their wish when Lawrence Shankland started in the 4-0 loss to the Netherlands

However, he missed a one-on-one chance in just his second Scotland start, which won't help his bid for a starting spot

However, he missed a one-on-one chance in just his second Scotland start, which won’t help his bid for a starting spot

Played in by Scott McTominay, Shankland was clear through on goal and just had Dutch keeper Mark Flekken to beat.

He didn’t snatch at it, but nor did he show the requisite composure or killer instincts that have typified his 27-goal season at Tynecastle.

A frontrunner to win PFA Player of the Year in Scotland, this was the sort of chance we’d all expect Shankland to bury.

Certainly, it’s the type he needs to be taking if he wants to oust Che Adams and, to a lesser extent, Lyndon Dykes from the starting XI.

Adams is probably still the favourite to start the Euros against Germany in Munich on June 14, but don’t write Shankland off just yet.

There was enough in his overall performance to suggest he still has plenty to offer Scotland. By no means did he play poorly.

If any player came off the pitch last night with question-marks over their head, it wasn’t Shankland. Rather, it would be Angus Gunn.

The Scotland goalkeeper was more than a little suspect for Holland’s first two goals. He should have saved the first from Tijjani Reijnders, plain and simple.

With 27 goals for Hearts, Shankland is the frontrunner to win PFA Player of the Year in Scotland

With 27 goals for Hearts, Shankland is the frontrunner to win PFA Player of the Year in Scotland

Che Adams is still favourite to start at the Euros but Shankland stands a chance of doing so

Che Adams is still favourite to start at the Euros but Shankland stands a chance of doing so

Scotland cannot afford too many nights like this as we approach the European Championship

Scotland cannot afford too many nights like this as we approach the European Championship

Gunn seemed to awkwardly pull out of the save, perhaps more concerned with clattering into the post. But a prime Craig Gordon would have saved it.

That’s the prism through which Scotland keepers are now being viewed once again since the veteran is back fit and available.

Gunn had the jersey through the majority of the qualifying campaign, but this performance did nothing to help his case of starting against Germany.

For Holland’s second goal, he put the whole team under pressure with a dodgy ball out to Nathan Patterson at right-back.

In the end, the scoreline was very harsh on Scotland. They were neat and tidy on the ball and played better football than the Dutch for large swathes.

But, the reality is, you simply can’t afford too many of these nights as you build towards a major tournament.



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