New dad Lawrence Shankland hopes his pairing with Marc McNulty will give Premiership defences sleepless nights.

The Dundee United striker dashed out of the Scotland camp two weeks ago for the birth of his baby daughter Eva and missed the win over Czech Republic, having been one of the play-off penalty heroes against Israel.

McNulty has been building his fitness and is now ready to lend a hand up top.

Shankland is getting used to the changes at home as well as at work and said: “They’re both doing well back in the house and I’m diving in head first with the nappies.

“I’m not sure what took longer – the penalty shoot-out or the baby coming!

“I think the shoot-out was a wee bit more relaxing because there were no fans there – I didn’t feel nervous, it was weird.

“I felt confident and was just happy to see it go in the net.

“I’d already discussed it with the Scotland staff. They knew I might need to go at some point. The initial plan was to go away, isolate and get a test again to be involved in the last game. But Nicole didn’t end up giving birth until the morning of the game.

“I’d been at the hospital all night from the day before
and wouldn’t have been fit to play, so I just stayed up the road and left them to it.

“It was two good results. You always have people nitpicking at things but we did well.”

United boss Micky Mellon could unleash the strike duo together from the start for the first time at St Johnstone today and Shankland is hoping it can be a fruitful partnership.

The 25-year-old said: “Marc scores goals. I know that of him from seeing it at Hibs – it’s never bad to add a goalscorer to a squad.

“Hopefully he can chip in with a few because we’ve not been scoring many as a team this season and it’s a part
of the game we want to improve on.

“We need to create more chances and score more goals, so to add another player with that quality at the top end of the pitch can only help.

“It can take a bit of the burden off but obviously I still want to score goals.

“I want to be participating with him. I hope he chips in with a good few and both of us get there.

“We want to hit double figures as soon as possible, Nicky Clark as well because he’s already had a good start with scoring so hopefully that continues.

“If we’ve got three strikers scoring goals, it’s only a good thing for the team.”

Shankland reckons McNulty could help United pose more of a penalty-box threat as they bid to showcase their attacking intent after last weekend’s goalless draw with Aberdeen.

He added: “We want to be scoring goals because it’s something we did well last year at a lower level.

“It’s been a wee bit of a learning curve for us probably. We’ve come up and are playing against different opposition in games you’re not so in control of at some points.

“The chances are a lot more limited but I still think we could create more. It’s something we need to work and improve on as a team for the next quarter.”