Lawrence Shankland reveals his next step as the Hearts captain joins up with Scotland and reacts to pressure

Another prolific season at Tynecastle has earned the striker a priceless international chance

Lawrence Shankland has joined up with the Scotland squad ready to embrace the pressure of competing for a place at Euro 2024. After another blistering season at Hearts with 28 goals in 41 appearances so far, the striker declared himself fully motivated to seize his moment at international level.

Scotland play friendlies against Netherlands this Friday and Northern Ireland the following Tuesday as national coach Steve Clarke strives to finalise his 23-man pool for Germany. Shankland is included in the current 25-man pool having been left out of the previous squad in November. On that occasion, he was called up as a late replacement for the injured Ché Adams and came on as a substitute to score Scotland's late equaliser in the 2-2 draw with Georgia.

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The 28-year-old is aware of the scrutiny he and others will be under ahead of the European Championship finals this summer. He has coped with the demands of being Hearts' principal goalscorer and captain for more than a year. He feels the next step is to prove he can handle the international arena by securing a place at the Euros. He has seven caps and two goals for Scotland to date.

"There is obviously pressure there but you need to embrace that and take it on," said Shankland, speaking exclusively to the Edinburgh News. "I feel I've dealt with pressures. I've had to deal with them at club level so this is the next step for me - to go and deal with it at international level. I believe I'm definitely good enough to be involved. If I can get the opportunity then I will try to show that. Whether you perform at your best or not, it's just about going out there, giving it your best and see where it takes you.

"It's good to be involved with the squad. I've got two games to play now and the manager will be wanting to get a look at people ahead of the Euros. If I get the chance, it's just about trying to impress and do my best. I've been doing well recently, probably barring the last two games. Up until then I had been really good so I can go into this week with good confidence. I'm looking forward to it."

Being named in the initial squad rather than being a late call-up gives Shankland added confidence. "It's good to be in at the start but I feel like I've deserved it," he added. "My form has been good, I've kept it going from the last camp in November. I knew there was going to be a big gap between those two camps so it's important to keep your form going and I've managed to do that."