SOMETIMES, it does a footballer good to block out the noise. Just ask Ryan Christie, who took the step of deleting his Twitter account after being the subject of online abuse for getting himself sent off in Celtic’s defeat to Livingston on Sunday.

Lawrence Shankland has taken a similar outlook towards criticism of Steve Clarke’s decision to call him up for the Scotland squad for the games against Russia and San Marino, blanking out the snipers who claim the level he is playing at should discount him from selection.

The Dundee United attacker is intent on proving that he can handle the step up from the Scottish Championship to the international arena, proving the naysayers who say he doesn’t merit his inclusion wrong in the process.

“I didn’t need to hear [the criticism] – I know I have been doing well myself,” Shankland said. “If the goals are going in at the pace they have been, I’m doing alright.

“I’m not the first [Championship player] to be called up. It happened to John McGinn a few years ago, and look at him now. He has really kicked on and playing every week in the Premier League.

“People wouldn’t have seen that for him at the time. There are going to be criticisms, I’ll just look to play my football and ignore all that.

“This is an opportunity which has come to me and it’s one I’ll be looking to take. There’s no guarantee I will but I just want to enjoy being a part of it and do my best on the park.”

The opinions that matter to Shankland are those of Scotland coach Clarke and his backroom staff, and they have been overwhelmingly positive as they welcomed the 24-year-old into the national team training camp at Oriam, where he set about making a good first impression in yesterday’s training session.

“They’ve all said to go out and enjoy it and express myself,” he said. “They all believe I am good enough to be a part of it, so it was good to get that feedback from people in football.

“It was just good to get a training session and get a touch of the ball and get involved. It’s been good so far. It has felt real from the start but when you are out there training with that level of player then it does hit home.

“It can only help being surrounded by this quality of player. Everybody in the squad is playing at a really good level like the Premier League down south. That can only help as you try to learn what you can off of them.

“Things which are missing from my game that I can maybe add. I’ll be looking to learn off of everyone, not just the strikers.”

While Shankland’s immediate focus is to impress enough in training to earn a place in the starting eleven for the game in Moscow on Thursday night, he also knows this camp offers him the perfect opportunity to stake a claim for the all-important Euro 2020 play-off matches in March.

“That’s what I am here for,” he said. “I’m part of the squad and I’d like to be part of the team. I just want to go out and try to perform in training. If it goes well then it will take care of itself.

“The objective for this squad is to finish as high as we can in this group and see where we end up. It’s all building towards the playoffs which will be big.

“It’s an incentive to be involved in them and something you want to be a part of, but I want to do as well as I can in this camp and see where it takes you.”