Aberdeen boss Derek McInnes has sprung to the defence of Graeme Shinnie after the Dons captain came in for stinging criticism in the wake of Scotland’s calamity in Kazakhstan.
The 27-year-old midfielder was asked by Alex McLeish to stand in for Kieran Tierney and Andy Robertson, who lost fitness battles ahead of the opening 2020 European Championship qualifier on Thursday.
Shinnie, who has played left-back previously, struggled in the shock 3-0 defeat to a team ranked 117th in the world and admitted culpability and fears about his Scotland future after the match.
He was left out of the 2-0 away win over San Marino on Sunday as skipper Robertson returned, but McInnes stoutly defended his skipper.
He told Aberdeen’s official website: “For Graeme to have taken so much criticism for it has really angered me over the last little while. It is bang out of order.
“Graeme is guilty of being too honest for his own good. He only played a part on a miserable night for the country.
“Everyone else played their part. Everyone involved has to take their responsibility.
“The fact we made so few tackles, committed so few fouls, did not show enough competitiveness; that had a bigger part to play for me.
“Graeme is someone who playing for their county means so much to him. I can understand his disappointment that he has not managed to take his opportunity and not showed what he is capable of.
“But in terms of his honesty, his commitment, he would win that fight hands down over any other player.
“Graeme will bounce back quickly. He is that type of player. If I could have a team full of Graeme Shinnies I would have them.
“I would not swap him for anyone. He means everything to me and how we want to play. He has got his faults at times, no one is perfect, but he is someone who is so fiercely driven and fiercely competitive.
“If he had been played in the position he has been playing, he would have had a bigger impact on the game than maybe some others.
“For me he is my captain. The players look up to him. He has to put it down to a bad day and it happens. He has had more good days than bad.”