Aberdeen skipper Graeme Shinnie today challenged his Pittodrie team-mates to join him and force their way into the Scotland set-up.
Aberdonian Shinnie is in contention to earn a debut cap on home soil as interim boss Malky Mackay’s Scots face Dick Advocaat’s Oranje at Pittodrie tonight (7.45pm).
Fellow Dons Kenny McLean and Ryan Christie are set to start in the first game since the failed World Cup bid under now departed former boss Gordon Strachan.
Whoever the SFA ultimately appoint as Strachan’s successor will lead the qualification bid for Euro 2020.
Eight uncapped players have been named in the squad for tomorrow’s friendly and Shinnie hopes more Aberdeen team-mates can force their way in ahead of the Euro 2020 bid.
With squad places at a premium, the 26-year-old accepts more fellow Dons will only make the international breakthrough by helping the club gain domestic success.
He said: “If the team are doing well then you want more of your players to get a Scotland call-up.
“However, it is always difficult as there are so many players in the same boat and trying to push into the squad.
“The squad can only be so big. Going forward, the players at Aberdeen can all take something from the fact we have three in the squad now.
“First and foremost you have to be doing it at club level and if your form is good enough to take you in, then it is obviously an added bonus.”
It is more than two years since Shinnie, one of the Dons’ stand-out performers, was last involved with the nation’s international squad.
He was called up for the Euro 2016 qualifying double header against Poland and Gibraltar, but was not capped.
“The manager (Derek McInnes) has always backed his players, now it is up to us,” said Shinnie.
“Hopefully, this is the first of many (call-ups) because once you get a sniff of the squad and all that comes with it you want to keep driving forward and stay there as long as you can.
“I made the bench for the second game when I was called up for Poland and Gibraltar.
“No matter who you are, you always want that recognition of playing for your country.
“You can only play as well as you can for your club and hopefully it takes you there.
“If I do play any part in the game against Holland it would be a massive honour.
“However, you have to earn it so I have to train as hard as I can while with the squad.”
Two-year-old daughter Penelope and the rest of the Dons captain’s family will be cheering him on at Pittodrie tonight.
He said: “My family would be there anyway, no matter if it was Aberdeen or the other side of the world.
“My daughter loves football and goes to all the home games. She sings ‘Come on You Reds!’ at the top of her voice.
“I can hear her when I’m out on the pitch. She will be there with my fiancee Jodie. I will have to teach my daughter all the Scotland songs.
“It does make it more special that it is at Pittodrie. If I can play any part it would be an achievement in my career.”
No World Cup spot and no Bayern Munich legend Arjen Robben, but Shinnie reckons facing Holland can help raise his game to a higher level.
Beaten World Cup finalists in 2010 and semi-finalists four years ago, Holland, like Scotland, have failed to reach Russia next summer.
The fall-out from the recent failed World Cup bid was the international retirement of Robben.
“Thankfully,” laughed Shinnie when asked about Robben’s absence.
“Robben is a world class player and one you would obviously want to share the same pitch with. But Holland have other great players.
“There are going to be world class players out there for Holland as they have Champions League winners.
“They’ve shown in previous years they are a great team.
“Seeing how Holland play will be a great experience.”
While Shinnie has been on international duty speculation on manager Derek McInnes’ future continues to rage. McInnes is the favourite for the vacant Rangers managerial post.
Shinnie expects his gaffer to still be at Pittodrie when he returns from Scotland duty.
He said: “Yes, I expect him to be there.
“I hope he will be there. Football is football, you can never tell what is going to happen.
“We just need to get on with it the same way we would, and if it does happen then is out of our hands.
“The players don’t get caught up on that and the manager hasn’t been caught up on that either. You can’t really deal with speculation.”