Why Lawrence Shankland Scotland snubs could be GOOD for Hearts despite X-rated assessment of Clarke's call

Ryan Stevenson was less than impressed with Lawrence Shankland's lack of action at the Euros - but reckons it could be a blessing in disguise for Hearts.

The goal-hungry Jambos hitman was handed a total of 23 minutes across Scotland's three games at the tournament - getting just one minute against Switzerland and then 14 against Hungary as the team desperately needed a goal to try and secure qualification to the last 16.

Steve Clarke has been heavily criticised for many aspects of his approach to the three matches, particularly tactics that have been perceived as being too cautious and negative. Another area of criticism has been the lack of use of a man who banged in an impressive 31 goals for his club the previous season.

Che Adams was chosen to start every one as the lone striker and didn't have his best tournament. The feeling is that Shankland should at least have been given more time off the bench, if not some starts.

Now, former Hearts favourite Stevenson admits he felt Clarke's decisions were a "pile of s***e" but he also feels it could be GOOD for the Tynecastle men as the 29-year-old wasn't given any opportunity to impress any watching scouts.

Speaking in the Daily Record, he said: "Lawrence Shankland can stare in the mirror and know he couldn't have done anymore. I’ll be honest, I actually feel bitter about his lack of opportunity in Germany and the buck stops right with Steve Clarke.

"It was horrible to see, even if the Scotland manager might just have done Hearts a massive favour. It was so crying out for Lawrence to be playing against Hungary and for him to only get the last 14 minutes plus injury-time was, in my opinion, just a pile of s***e.

"He has grafted for a full year, he has been exceptional and to get the last few minutes and about three against Switzerland in the previous game was just shocking. My bitterness over it is out of loyalty to Hearts and to Lawrence because I know what he did to get there and how much it would have meant to him to get the proper opportunity to do the business.

"But forget my loyalty to him and Hearts, the fact is he deserved more of a show purely for the season he had. Listen, although I would have started him in the opening match against Germany, I understood the logic behind playing Che Adams.

"By the time Lawrence came on against the hosts, the game was done, but even so, he did some good things and aspects of the match changed. He holds the ball up. I’m not speaking badly about Che, but he doesn’t do it as much.

"However, once Germany was out of the way, we knew we needed to win one of the last two games and I can barely believe Lawrence did not to get any real opportunity in either of those matches when we needed to win and score goals."

Despite that assessment, every cloud has a silver lining and Stevenson reckons his old club might be partly pleased their star man wasn't able to shine and attract more interest.

He added: "It’s crazy to think that, in some respects, he might have done Hearts a favour. The terrifying prospect for supporters before Germany is that he went to the tournament, showed his quality on the biggest stage and scored goals to help Scotland be successful.

"Everyone expected him to play and, if Scotland were going to do well at the Euros, he was going to be a big part of it. If that had happened and Scotland were currently preparing for a last 16 tie instead of being back home, Lawrence would almost have been away already because suitors would have been lining up.

"In a roundabout and horrible way, the fact he didn’t get his chance might just have done Hearts a turn. However, right now, I can only think player-to-player and I know how I would have been feeling in his shoes. I was absolutely gutted for him."