Graeme Shinnie insists last year’s Scotland snub has only made him hungrier to make his debut for the national team.
The Aberdeen captain was expected to make his international bow after being included in Malky Mackay’s selection for the Pittodrie visit of the Netherlands in November.
However, despite seeing Dons team-mates Kenny McLean and Ryan Christie earn their first caps, Shinnie was left sitting on the bench for the friendly. The 26-year-old admits he was frustrated at being overlooked on his home patch.
But, with the appointment of Alex McLeish as national boss presenting a fresh opportunity for those with international ambitions, Shinnie is determined to do all he can to make the breakthrough with Scotland.
He said: “It’s been a strange one because I never expect to go and play. I’m always delighted if I get called up. But when you’re there you always have that bit about you to try to get on to the pitch.
“Especially in the Netherlands game, I was disappointed not to get to show what I’ve got.
“It just gives me more hunger and more desire to keep working towards it and if the day comes it will obviously be a massive honour for me to represent my country.
“All I can do is try to play as well as I can for Aberdeen.
“Kenny and Ryan played really well in the game against the Netherlands, so that gives me an extra boost to try to replicate what they’ve done.
“Day-to-day, I’m just trying to improve and if my form’s good enough for Aberdeen and if it takes me there I’ll be delighted. But my sole focus is on trying to do as well as I can for Aberdeen.”
Shinnie is suspended for the visit of Celtic on Sunday but, despite losing second spot to Rangers on goal difference at the weekend, insists the Reds have it all to play for in the remainder of the campaign.
He added: “The expectation from the fans now is to close the gap on Celtic and try to keep that second place.
“We’ve put ourselves in a good position, similar to last season, in fighting for second place and trying to close the gap on Celtic as much as we can.
“We’re still in the Scottish Cup and looking to do well in that as well.
“There’s a lot of work still to be done in the run-in to the end of the season, but we’ve put ourselves in a good position.”