MICKY Mellon has issued a hands-off warning to any clubs weighing up a bid for Scotland internationalist Lawrence Shankland.

The 24-year-old completed a move from Ayr to Tannadice last summer and finished the campaign comfortably as the Championship’s top scorer with 24 goals in 26 league outings.

That form led Steve Clarke to hand the striker two Scotland caps in European Championship qualifiers and reported interest from rival clubs determined to win his signature.

Mellon, though, says that so long as he’s in charge at United no decision will be made that makes the club worse off, insisting that you cannot improve a side by selling its best player.

He said: “He deserves to be spoken about as being a top player for Dundee United because he’s been brilliant for us.

“Dundee United will do nothing that stops Dundee United getting better. Every question that will get flung at us in terms of the players, or decisions that have to be made about the club, will end with: does it make Dundee United better?

“Nothing will happen here that doesn’t make Dundee United better, I can assure you of that. The owner won’t allow that to happen, Tony Asghar won’t allow that to happen and I certainly won’t. You don’t build a good team by getting rid of your best players.”