Former Aberdeen captain Russell Anderson insists Graeme Shinnie’s call-up to the Scotland squad is thoroughly merited.
Shinnie will put his stag do on hold to join up with the national side for friendlies against Peru and Mexico at the end of the month.
Anderson, who was capped by Scotland while he was at Pittodrie, feels he has been long overdue a look-in at international level. The current Aberdeen skipper was called up for a friendly with the Netherlands at Pittodrie in November but was an unused substitute as team-mates Kenny McLean and Ryan Christie featured.
At the time, ex-Scotland striker Kris Boyd criticised Shinnie’s selection, believing he was not an international player. This week Scott Brown knocked the 26-year-old for his late tackle in the Dons 1-0 win at Parkhead, saying it was a “little boy’s tackle” and “he’s not got great quality, but he does the best he possibly can.”
However, Anderson is in no doubt Shinnie has earned his place in Alex McLeish’s squad and not just for his performances with the Dons.
Anderson said: “It’s deserved. It’s not just because it’s someone from Aberdeen – if you look how he performed at Caley Thistle, he won the Scottish Cup there. He’s consistently performed well for a number of seasons. He’s gone on to another level since he joined Aberdeen and he deserves a chance at that level.
“Sometimes, whether it’s domestic or international football, a manager might not be convinced of certain players. When they take their opportunity, people see it in a different light and I think Graeme just needs an opportunity to show what he can do. I’m sure he’ll take it when he gets the chance.”
Shinnie is joined in the squad by McLean, Christie and Scott McKenna, and Anderson the time is right for the success the Dons have had over the last four seasons to be recognised.
He said: “It’s nice to show – they’ve been the second best team in the country for the last four years. It did seem a bit unusual at times when they weren’t players in the squad, so I think it’s about right. They have played to a high standard and have been consistent. It makes it easier going into the squad, with players from your own team. It makes it familiar. It’s deserved.”