Celtic showdown a chance to press Scotland claims, says Dons boss McInnes

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Boss Derek McInnes wants his Aberdeen players use Wednesday night’s Ladbrokes Premiership match against Celtic to bolster their Scotland prospects.

Much has been made about the lack of Dons representation in the national team in recent seasons, notwithstanding midfielder Kenny McLean winning a cap in a friendly against Slovakia in Prague in March 2016.

However, a fresh start is promised as the Scottish Football Association search for a replacement for Gordon Strachan, who departed after a failed 2018 World Cup qualifying campaign.

Malky Mackay, performance director at the SFA, will take charge of the friendly against Holland at Pittodrie on November 9.

McInnes is hoping the clash against the league leaders – the Dons are behind on goal difference – will see some of his players do enough to impress the stand-in national team boss and whoever becomes permanent manager.

He said: “I think all my Scottish players, whether it is Andrew Considine, Mark Reynolds, Stevie May, Gary Mackay-Steven, Graeme Shinnie and Kenny McLean will see this as another opportunity.

“Whoever the next manager is, it might be seen as a fresh start for them, a fresh pair of eyes.

“Every game is an opportunity for my players to put their profile forward.

“Dominating and playing well against the likes of Celtic doesn’t do them any harm.

“That is an added incentive (with the Scotland game at Pittodrie). I see how hard they work and how hard they train.

“I’ve had numerous conversations with my players about picking them up when they’ve been disappointed after not getting in squads.

“But sometimes things are worth waiting for. You sometimes have it all to prove and hopefully we can have a couple of those guys in the squad and going into it playing well.

“I’d like to see them represent their country and there would be no better place to do it than Pittodrie. But whether that’s seen by Malky Mackay I don’t know.

“I’m sure the squad will be picked on merit and hopefully we’ll go into the game with these boys in good form.”

McInnes wondered if some of his Scottish players had become resigned to missing out on the last couple of squads.

He said: “You would need to ask the boys, I don’t want to speak for them.

“But there have been one or two squads when they’ve been playing particularly well and there’s maybe been a bit more profile before the squad.

“But part of your job as a manager is to reassure them and convince them their time will come and I firmly believe it will.

“I’ve had players there who’ve been very consistent over the past three to four years and just because we haven’t won a title doesn’t mean their level of performance hasn’t been strong.”

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