The debate over who should start for Scotland in the opening match of the European Championships against Germany will likely rumble on until Steve Clarke submits his team line at the Allianz Arena, and the question of who occupies the striking position is a particularly hot topic of discussion.

Given that he plies his trade in Scotland, the blistering form of Lawrence Shankland for Heart of Midlothian this season has put him at the forefront of the minds of many within the Tartan Army, with his 27 goals for the club in all competitions – and his goal against Georgia for his country – making him a popular choice to start against Germany in June.

Squad stalwarts Che Adams and Lyndon Dykes will have plenty to say about that though, and so too could manager Clarke, who is likely to favour one of his tried and trusted forwards in such a huge game for the country.

That is the opinion of former Scotland striker Billy Dodds, in any case. Dodds is a huge fan of Shankland, and admires him greatly for the way he has scrapped his way back from the brink to have such a successful career, and to put himself firmly in contention for a place in the Scotland squad for a major tournament.

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But when push comes to shove, Dodds thinks that Clarke will remain loyal to the men who have served him so consistently well over the past few years, with Adams the man he fancies to line up in attack against the tournament hosts.

“I love players who travel a journey, if you want to put it like that,” Dodds said.

“Players who in adversity of being left out, think: ‘I’ll show them’. And I think he’s given them plenty of food for thought.

“Now, the way Scotland play, he’s a brilliant addition if we are maybe behind in a game because we could throw him on.

“The way Scotland plays, we need mobility. That’s no slight on Lawrence Shankland because he’s the best finisher. But sometimes we have to realise that we get our best results by playing a formation that suits us and that’s with a striker who really gets about the park.

“I’m not saying Lawrence doesn’t, but the type of striker he is, he’s a brilliant addition in terms of if we need goals, we can throw him on, and he can score. He’s proved it.

“He [Clarke] ended up putting Shankland into the last squad and maybe now looks at it and thinks: Okay, I’ve had two that have done us proud in the past, done well, got us to the Euros and got us big results.

“So those two have the upper hand just now and now Lawrence is another wee ingredient into the mix where there’s your natural goalscorer. So, it’s a good thing to have.

“He’s like a nice wee addition. And that is what the manager might be thinking. He might be thinking: ‘He’s looked to prove me wrong, I love his thought process where I’ll show him, he scored his goal’.

“He had already done so at that level, but it was against lesser teams. and it was such an important goal in Georgia.

“For me, it’s just the way he was out of the picture, out of the squad and came in to do that.

“So, if we are losing to those teams with 15 minutes to go, Lawrence is a great addition to say: ‘Go and try to get us back into the game by getting into the box.’

“But that is not me trying to say he can’t start, either. I really have no preference. If you are asking me what I think Stevie Clarke might do, I think he might choose to start with Che Adams against the top-quality teams and the other boys will play a real part, but then, I might well be wrong!”

While at 28 years of age, it might seem strange that Shankland may still have to serve something of an apprenticeship for his country, but with just seven international caps to his name, Dodds feels that the Hearts captain may need to show some further patience.

And if he does get any opportunities over the friendlies in this window against The Netherlands and Northern Ireland, he has to grasp them.

“That’s always the way it should be for internationals,” he said.

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“The late, great Craig Brown always made you do your apprenticeship.

“Come with us in a squad, sit and watch and see what you might have to do when you get on, then we’ll make you a sub, then a wee half hour. You had to earn your place. That’s what I feel with Lawrence.

“Fans will say what type of striker they prefer and usually say: ‘He’s a goalscorer, get him played’. But that’s not always beneficial for the team.

“Che Adams is quick, off the cuff, puts teams on the back foot and is a handful. Big Lyndon sometimes isn’t a natural goalscorer, but he’ll score important goals.

“So, it is that balance. But Shankland is a brilliant addition in terms of options if we go to the Finals, if he makes the squad. He’s got a chance in these two games.”