By Daniel Lewis

17th Nov, 2023 | 9:10am

Barry Ferguson predicts Rangers and Celtic transfer battle for Hearts ace Lawrence Shankland

Barry Ferguson expects Rangers and Celtic to show an interest in Hearts attacker Lawrence Shankland in the January transfer window.

The 28-year-old scored a late equaliser for Scotland in their 2-2 Euro 2024 qualifying draw with Georgia on Thursday (16 November).

Shankland now has six goals in his past six games for club and country – five of those for Hearts – which Ferguson believes will have clubs on alert.

“I think he has matured into a very good centre-forward,” Ferguson told the Go Radio Football Show, via the Daily Record [16 November]. “It’s not just his goals but it’s his all-round play.”

Asked if Rangers could make a move in January, Ferguson said: “I think there will be interest in him. Whether it is Rangers, whether it’s Celtic or elsewhere. I would certainly be looking at him.”

Proven scorer

The interest in Shankland has no doubt grown with his recent displays, with his goal for Scotland his first at international level since October 2019.

When you factor in goals in all competitions this season, the 28-year-old now has 10 to his name, including three in the Europa Conference League.

Shankland has therefore showed he can score goals in the league, in Europe and indeed at international level, whether he is fielded as a number 10 or a number nine.

That is not to mention the fact he scored 24 goals in 37 Scottish Premiership appearances for Hearts last time out.

Given the amount of money Rangers had at their disposal in the summer – relatively speaking – it is somewhat surprising they did not move for Shankland.

But if funds are freed up for Philippe Clement in the new year, then the Glasgow native quite simply has to be near the top of the Belgian’s list of targets.

In other Rangers news, the Gers appear to have been given a lucky escape as a player who left Ibrox in the summer is already on his way out of his new club.