Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes says the form of Scotland international Andy Considine has helped ease the pain of losing Scott McKenna.
Considine has joined up with former teammate McKenna on Scotland duty this week ahead of Thursday’s make-or-break Euro 2020 play-off final against Serbia.
McKenna left the Dons to join Nottingham Forest in a £3million deal in September but Considine’s form has helped mitigate that loss.
The 33-year-old’s reward for his solid displays in the Dons rearguard was his first taste of international action when he helped Scotland to 1-0 successes against Slovakia and Czech Republic last month.
McInnes said: “Andy has been part of a back three with McKenna and without McKenna and his own performances have helped us.
“Although we’ve shipped some goals against Celtic in the last couple of games, I think up until the last couple of games in league and cup our clean sheet record was the second best in the league.
“We need to try to get back to that and Andy has been a huge part of that. I think him being involved in the Scotland squad, for those who watch Aberdeen regularly, his performances were very much Andy Considine performances.
“The first international game against Slovakia was a good game for him because I didn’t see any real attacking threat from Slovakia, it was all pretty safe and straightforward.
“He was then tested a lot more – as the rest of the back line were – against the Czech Republic. But he dealt with it well and came out of both games with his head held high.
“They were very unfussy performances and that’s what he’s been for us. You want your defenders to be reliable, trustworthy, make good decisions and not be flustered when called upon to defend.
“I think Andy has been very good so I wasn’t surprised when we got the word that he was going to be back in the squad. It’s great for him if he can reinforce his position within the international team by being as consistent as he’s been.
😍 Congratulations to Andrew Considine who has been named in the @ScotlandNT squad for next week’s huge play off final against Serbia and the Nations League matches against Slovakia and Israel! 👏#StandFree https://t.co/MSkbMw5yWd
— Aberdeen FC (@AberdeenFC) November 3, 2020
“Now that he’s taken a step forward with that hopefully there are more caps for big Andy.”
Thursday’s meeting with Serbia is the biggest game for a generation of Scotland fans as the national team attempts to qualify for a first major tournament since the 1998 World Cup in France.
McInnes said he would have full faith in Dons defender Andy Considine if selected to win his third cap in Belgrade.
He said: “Obviously there are a few more options for the manager to pick from, but I said to Andy before he met up last time that ‘you’ve just got to do all you can to make sure you’re still involved in the next squad.’
“That’s all you can do when called upon.”
Greg Leigh, meanwhile, will hope to get his first taste of action for Jamaica this weekend.
The left-back received his first call-up to the Jamaica squad for their upcoming friendly double-header against Saudi Arabia with matches scheduled for Saturday and next Tuesday.
Leigh, who joined the Dons for a second spell in October after being released by NAC Breda, was capped by England at under-19 level.
McInnes said: “I’m pleased for Greg and it’s a big thing for him – he was over the moon.
“It’s a good thing for us if he gets a couple of games while he’s away with them. We had arranged to top up his work by getting him involved in a practice match next week.
“But if he can get that in the international set up then it’s even better. It’s a big thing for him and Greg and his family are rightly proud of it and we share pride as with them.
“We’ve actually got quite a few away with three of the boys involved in the Scotland under-21s (Lewis Ferguson, Ross McCrorie and McLennan), Andy, Ronald Hernandez, Niall McGinn, Matty Kennedy and Greg.”