Looking at the 50-goal man of Ayr United
By Angus Hyde
Ayr United frontman Lawrence Shankland joined the Honest Men after a disappointing spell at Aberdeen, looking to reignite the goalscoring talent he showed at Queens Park, which earned him his big move back in 2012.
The striker has now hit a scintillating run of form with the Ayrshire outfit as they make their way on a shock potential promotion bid to the Premiership, just after winning the Scottish League One in the 2017/18 season.
Shankland scored twice in a midweek clash against Alloa Athletic last Tuesday, making his scoring record stand at 50 goals in 52 games to date. This astonishing goals-to-game record is unsurprisingly attracting a lot of interest from many big teams from Scotland including Rangers and Dundee, as well as teams from the English Championship.
However, the breakout star has insisted that he is not turned by the attention at this point in time.
I’m happy and really enjoying my football at a great club so I’m not in to much of a rush out the door! We’ve had a good start to the season and hope that continues, one thing about our squad is we don’t have a stand out player. Everyone works for each other and there’s a good team spirit about the place so not being a standout I think helps us along the way.”
Lawrence’s ability on the ball and finishing prowess has made him a household name across South Ayrshire with an invigorated Ayr side start to drawing bigger and bigger crowds coming into Somerset Park with an electric atmosphere within the ground. He has also managed to win two caps for the Scotland u-21 side, bagging a brace in a 2-1 victory over Hungary whilst playing alongside players like Ryan Gauld and John McGinn.
Shankland’s relationship with both the fans and the club is one of the key traits that keeps him in such high regards with the United faithful. Lifelong Ayr fan and regular season ticket holder Craig McClurkin gave an insight into the impact that he has on the fans at Somerset Park.
With the team’s performances earning plaudits from around the country, Lawrence insists that the squad has to keep grounded and together, focusing on the upcoming games, as well as continuing to perform for the team.
We’re not going to get carried away 12 games into the season but we’ve played everyone now and we know we’re a match for most so we’ll be going into each and every game to try take 3 points and see where that takes us. My aspirations [for the season] are just to win as many games as possible and have more good performances than bad… and hopefully chip in with some more goals too.”
”I think it [being top scorer] has to be a target as a striker, but it’s not something I’m going to get to caught up in or worried about as long as I’m performing well for the team that’s most important part.”
Also, the striker’s relationship with manager Ian McCall has had a massive influence on the success of the team, with the former Rangers man’s tactics putting Shankland at the forefront of the Ayr attack. He is well supported by the pace of Forrest and McDaid on either side and also by the experienced Moffat, who has slotted well into a deeper number ten role after returning to the club that he himself made his name as a goalscorer.
This has allowed the striker to flourish and the player-manager relationship has definitely galvanised the player’s confidence, which is especially important after being released by Aberdeen.
McCall told the Ayrshire Post about his thoughts on Shankland’s form, mindset and also his future with the Honest Men.
As everyone can see by his form, Lawrence is fully committed to Ayr United and thoroughly enjoying his football. Personally I am sure that he will go on to play at the top level but at this minute he is very much an Ayr United player.”
“There won’t be another striker in Britain who can match Lawrence’s record, to score 50 goals in 50 starts is unreal and it’s real Roy of the Rovers stuff.”