Dons boss Derek McInnes is confident Scott McKenna’s latest injury setback will not hinder his Scotland career.
A hamstring tear has ruled Aberdeen centre-back McKenna out of the Euro 2020 qualifiers against Russia and Belgium.
McKenna was set to retain his starting position in Steve Clarke’s squad for the vital Group I qualifiers.
However, the 22-year-old suffered a hamstring injury on the artificial pitch at Kilmarnock that will rule him out for up to a month.
In reaction to injury withdrawals of centre-backs Grant Hanley and Liam Palmer, boss Clarke handed a late call-up to Aberdeen’s uncapped Mikey Devlin.
McInnes accepts it will be a major setback for McKenna to miss out facing World Cup quarter-finalists Russia and a Belgium side sitting number one in the Fifa world rankings.
But he is confident McKenna will remain pivotal to future Scotland squads.
He said: “Steve Clarke sees Scott as a key player for him. Scott is obviously disappointed that he is not going to be playing in these qualifiers as they are two great games.
“It would have been two brilliant games for him to go into.
“However, I think the good thing is that when Steve took the Scotland job on he played Scott in the first two games.
“He sees Scott as part of that (Scotland squad).”
The hamstring tear suffered at Kilmarnock was the latest injury setback to marr McKenna’s international career.
The centre-back suffered a hamstring tear against Rangers in the opening game of last season that ultimately ruled him out of action for six weeks.
That injury saw him miss Scotland’s opening UEFA Nations League clash against Albania and the friendly with Belgium last September.
McInnes believes the recent injury was particularly cruel for McKenna as he was in good form despite the speculation over his Aberdeen future.
McKenna had submitted a transfer request days before the English transfer window closed on August 8 for Premier League and Championship clubs.
Nottingham Forest and Queens Park Rangers both had bids for McKenna rejected before he handed in the request.
Sheffield Wednesday came in with a late bid on transfer deadline day that was also rejected for the defender who is contracted to Pittodrie until 2024.
McInnes said: “Scott’s level of performance have been very strong. Unfortunately he missed spells of football last season with two hamstring injuries and this is another one.
“This is a similar injury to when Scott over-stretched it (hamstring) against Rangers here making a blocking tackle.
“He has over-stretched it again having lost his footing on that pitch and is out for the region of three to four weeks.
“It may be a bit longer, maybe a bit shorter, but Scott has been a quick healer in the past.”
Devlin’s call-up came 24 hours after his return to the Dons starting line-up for the first time in six weeks after a hamstring injury.
McInnes said: “It just shows you need that squad and how it changes because Mikey thought he was not getting into my team a couple of weeks ago.
“Mikey is now in charge of he jersey and he comes back in now and plays.
“We know we can rely on Mikey when he is called upon.
“It is great to have that quality in the squad to call upon when you have injuries.
McKenna is one of five centre-backs ruled out of Clarke’s Scotland squad with John Souttar (Hearts) and Stuart Findlay (Kilmarnock) both omitted with injuries.
Grant Hanley (Norwich) and Liam Palmer (Sheffield Wednesday) were called up but dropped out with injuries.
In reaction Clarke called up the Dons’ Devlin, 25, and Hamburg’s David Bates, on loan at Sheffield Wednesday.
Uncapped Devlin was previously in the squad last November and was set to earn his first cap only to suffer an ankle injury training with Scotland that would rule him out for three months.
McInnes said: “What looked like an innocuous injury when he was away with Scotland saw him miss the best part of three months.
“He missed out on the League Cup final, playing for Scotland and a number of key games for us.
“For a young lad he has a lot of injuries to deal with but hopefully he will have better times ahead.”