Robbie Neilson has vowed to hang on to Lawrence Shankland after the Dundee United hitman was watched by Celtic in the 2-2 Scottish Cup draw with Hibs.

The Scotland striker continued his incredible scoring record in the fourth round clash, netting the first equaliser on the stroke of half-time to make it 26 goals in 27 games.

He showed his predatory instincts by slotting home the only chance his side created in the first half after showing strength to bounce Lewis Stevenson to the ground and was then aware enough to delay his strike to wrong-foot Ofir Marciano.

The leading striker in Scotland has unsurprisingly been attracting attention of bigger clubs up and down the country.

Celtic scout Tosh McKinlay was spotted in the stands at Tannadice, with the Hoops’ talent spotter there to cast his eye over Shankland.

The champions have just shelled out £3.5m on Polish hitman Patryk Klimala, but it may not be the sum of their offensive additions this window.

QPR and Crystal Palace are also been credited with an interest, with the Loftus Road club sending director of football Les Ferdinand to the recent Dundee derby to run the rule.

But with United 17 points clear at the top of the Championship table and Shankland still with two-and-a-half years to run on his contract, there is no pressing need to sell.

Things may change this summer but Neilson values the goals that will almost certainly fire United to the top flight more than any cash injection.

He said: “Lewis is a good player. It wasn’t just his class with the goal it was his link play. He’s so fluid on the ball.

“It was great for him to get his goal. I think he will still be here in February although today’s not going to help us.

“I’ve said for a long time that getting promoted is more valuable to us than selling one of our key players. I’m expecting him to be here until the end of the season and what happens beyond that will be dependent on what offers come in.”

Neilson was booked after Shankland’s strike, but confirmed it was for his unhappiness at an earlier decision rather than for celebrating.

He said: “I was just disappointed with a decision and I made my thoughts known to the fourth official.”