3 pundits against Lawrence Shankland to Celtic but FOR Rangers transfer accused of 'disrespect' by Hearts legend

Hearts hitman Lawrence Shankland has been red-hot this season
Hearts hitman Lawrence Shankland has been red-hot this season -Credit:SNS Group

Hearts icon John Robertson branded THREE pundits 'disrespectful' for doubting Lawrence Shankland's ability to play for Celtic.

The debate erupted on Sportscene as host Kenny McIntyre threw a grenade into the conversation by asking the panel which one of Shankland, Adam Idah or Bojan Miovski would be the best fit for Brendan Rodgers. Shankland has hoovered up just about every Player of the Year gong in Scottish football this season after a remarkable 31-goal campaign at Tynecastle. The Scotland striker - who turns 29 in August - is entering the final year of his Jambos contract and has hinted that he could move on this summer.

Rangers have been heavily linked with the Gorgie goal machine over the last 12 months but have yet to lodge an official offer. BBC pundits including Michael Stewart and Tom English reckon Philippe Clement should jump at the chance to sign the prolific frontman but questioned whether he has all the attributes to oust Kyogo and lead the line for Celtic - especially in the Champions League.

Hearts' all-time record league goalscorer Robbo couldn't believe what he was hearing from his fellow Beeb colleagues and insisted Shankland would be a success at Parkhead. But Stewart and Hoops legend Pat Bonner were quick to shut down accusations of 'disrespect' as they attempted to explain their thinking. Football Scotland has transcribed the full discussion below:

Pat Bonner: "He [Brendan Rodgers] knows what Adam can do, that's an advantage there. It's probably what he's valued at. I think Miovski would be one you'd be thinking closely about because of his pace, he scores goals. The thing about Lawrence Shankland is he'll score goals, no doubt about that. In a team that's performing in the national league, he will get chances to score, there's no doubt about that. But when he goes into a higher level like the Champions League when sometimes you're under the cosh, you may get one or two chances, but you have to work very hard up front - you have to close people down and all that sort of stuff - I'm not sure that Lawrence would have that pace in his game to match what the expectations might be. That might be the bit where you might not go for Lawrence Shankland. I think a lot of big teams will be looking at that part of it also. Listen, he can score goals but I'm not sure that he could fit into the Celtic way of playing like Miovski might do or Idah has already proved it."

Michael Stewart: "The concern I would have with Lawrence Shankland moving to Celtic is that he wouldn't play every week. I think he needs to be playing every week to get the best out of him. That is the reasoning if I was Celtic that I probably wouldn't be looking at Shankland. Whereas across the city at Rangers, it's just a no-brainer. It should have been [in January]. He would play, he's far better than [Cyriel] Dessers and he would play which allows him to keep himself at top fitness and sharpness. I could be proven wrong, but I just don't think he'd have that same impact coming off a bench like Idah has been able to do. He's been able to have that impact while being second choice effectively. Miovski is young, he's a prospect, but I don't know what he'd be like. You are talking about going spending £12million for example on someone to go and challenge Kyogo. You could spend that and you could go and spend £4m or £5m on one of those guys. So you could be looking at both of them unless you get somebody better. £5m could buy you a better striker than Kyogo, it's about targeting the right players."

Pat Bonner: "That player has to fit into the way Celtic play also. Kyogo is quick, sharp, dynamic and he's got movement. Idah has proved he's got a bit of both, he's quick and strong enough, he can hold the ball up and he can be a different type of player. Lawrence Shankland can hold the ball up and score goals but has he got that quickness and ability to move himself around the pitch when he plays up there on his own and the way Celtic want to play? I'm not sure. Miovski, is he strong enough? He's quick enough and will score goals but has he got that? So picking the player is almost going to compliment what you've got at the moment."

Tom English: "If I was Celtic I'd be trying to do a deal with Adam Idah. He's 23, he's got 17 goals for Norwich, Ireland and Celtic this season. He's big, physical, brave. I think £5m or £6m is that ballpark, I'm not sure."

John Robertson: "I think you're being a wee bit disrespectful to Lawrence Shankland if I'm being honest guys. You're saying he's not got the pace? Well, he's scored home and away against Rangers, Celtic and Hibs. Big games and he's scored more goals than any other striker in Scottish football against the same opposition. Why wouldn't he score goals for Celtic? You're saying he's not got pace? He's scored 31 goals, you don't necessarily have to have pace. You've got a goalscorer. Might he not be suited for European football? He's scored goals for Hearts in European football. Yes, at a lesser tournament, you could say, but he's still scored. He's scored for Scotland against Georgia away. He's going to feature prominently in the European Championships. I don't want Lawrence Shankland to leave Hearts. I hope he stays another season and signs an extension. It would be fantastic for Hearts but I think you're being disrespectful by saying he wouldn't fit into the Celtic way. The guy proved it last season and this season with nearly 60 goals. So I think he fits into any of the two teams. Celtic may look for a slightly different type of striker as you say, someone who runs in behind. Kyogo is very good, he's sharp and runs in behind. Adam Idah you'd think suits. Miovski is more similar in that way as well where he runs in behind. But Shankland is a born goalscorer and will score goals in any team in any league, I think."

Tom English: "We're not [being disrespectful]. Everyone thinks the world of Lawrence Shankland."

Michael Stewart: "If you are picking a Cup final team, are you picking Kyogo or Shankland for Celtic, Robbo?"

John Robertson: "Well, you'd go with Kyogo because Shankland plays for Hearts... If they were both at Celtic, I think Shankland could score as many goals for Celtic as Kyogo's got. It's a toss of the coin [who would start]. It's whoever is on form at the time."

Pat Bonner: "I do need to say this. We weren't being disrespectful to Shankland. He's a brilliant player who has done brilliantly for Hearts. He deserves his Player of the Year this year. We were asked a serious question and we had to qualify what we were saying by describing the differences between the players and that's what we said. We have to be honest with what we're saying and we're not being disrespectful - at ALL - to Lawrence Shankland. I watched him at Ayr as a young player and I went to the manager at the time by saying 'Wow, he's a player' and he's developed into that. But we're comparing players and we've got to do that analysis and critique of the players and that's what we were doing."

Tom English: "For me, if they have the money - and it's an if - the biggest no-brainer of all is that Rangers should make a move for Shankland."

Michael Stewart: "Look, if I was Celtic with the money they've got, I wouldn't have any qualms about bringing in a Miovski but I'd still be looking to potentially bring in a big hitter as a striker because it goes back to Robbo saying 'It depends which one was on form' between Shankland and Kyogo. The point is Kyogo is the number one man. He's the one who holds the jersey. Now, for Shankland to get into that form, he'd have to be playing ahead of Kyogo and that's not going to happen and that's my concern with Shankland. It's a different style of game. Celtic are at their best when they are playing at that pace and stretching teams in behind. That's not Shankland's strength. Shankland is like a Teddy Sheringham. Shankland couldn't have the impact that Idah has in the number of games that he has because Shankland to me needs to be playing every week. That's why Idah has had an impact and he really does make you think about bringing him in because he's not been playing every week and he's still had a big impact. I'm not sure Lawrence would be able to do that."