John Carver has challenged in-form Hearts striker Lawrence Shankland to use his late call-up to the Scotland squad for the Euro 2024 qualifiers against Georgia and Norway to stake his claim for a seat on the plane to Germany next summer.
Shankland won the last of his five caps in the home win over Spain in March and was left out of the last two squads. However, after taking his tally for the season to 10 goals with five strikes in his last five matches – including a double in Saturday’s 2-1 win at Motherwell – the forward has been rewarded with a recall.
Carver believes Shankland should look towards Watford centre-back Ryan Porteous – now a regular starter – for inspiration as he comes in from the periphery.
“We got a call yesterday regarding Che having an issue with his groin,” said the Scotland assistant manager. “The good news for us is Lawrence popped up with a couple of goals at the weekend against Motherwell so he’s a player in form.
“It’s a fantastic opportunity for him. In the past, we’ve had players who have stepped in at the last moment and taken their opportunity. I can use Ryan Porteous as one.
“We went to Ukraine having to get a point in the Nations League, Ryan stepped in (for his debut) and was outstanding, and he’s never looked back since. That happened for him and there’s an opportunity for Lawrence.
“He’s in good form, scoring goals for Hearts, which is important. He’ll want to be on that plane in the 23-man squad. It’s a competitive squad. We know what he can do, but this is an extra opportunity for him over the next seven days because he didn’t expect to be here.”