Derek McInnes has backed “model professional” Andy Considine to take to international football with “no problems at all” after the Aberdeen veteran’s long-awaited Scotland call-up.
The 33-year-old has been called into the Scotland squad for the Hampden Nations League games against Slovakia tomorrow and the Czech Republic on Wednesday.
Defender Considine, who has played more than 500 games for the Dons, and Hibernian’s Paul McGinn have been brought in to bolster the Dark Blues ranks after the dramatic European Championship play-off semi-final win over Israel on Thursday.
Veteran Considine had been expected to get his first ever call-up before the semi-final clash with the Israelis was postponed in March, and the coronavirus pandemic cruelly appeared to have put paid to his chances of pulling on the Scots jersey.
However, ahead of the victory over Israel, Scotland lost former Dons centre-half Scott McKenna, Liam Palmer and Oliver Burke to injury, as well as Stuart Armstrong, Kieran Tierney and Ryan Christie, due to the former’s positive test for Covid-19.
And Clarke has moved to increase his squad depth for the forthcoming matches.
McInnes said: “I’m absolutely delighted for Andy because I know how much this will mean to him.
“I spoke to Steve on Thursday morning and he was keen to bring Andy into the squad, which was great to hear. It’s a reward for his consistency and perseverance over the years.
“It’s well deserved and recognition of how well he’s been performing.
“Andy has been brilliant for me in the seven years I’ve been at Pittodrie, he’s a model professional and exactly the type of character you want in your squad. He’s played to a high level for Aberdeen over the years and you’ve seen in the European games here how good he’s been.
“He was excellent for us against Sporting Lisbon a few weeks back and he has plenty of big game experience.
“So if he gets a game over the next week or so, he will take to international football no problems at all.
“Andy has often said how much he would love to pick up a Scotland cap even at this stage of his career – so hopefully that becomes a reality for him.”
There is set to be more recognition for Aberdeen as midfielder Ross McCrorie is also expected to join the Scotland squad for the matches against Slovakia and the Czech Republic, having played for the Under-21s last night.
Meanwhile, Dark Blues head coach Clarke has challenged his side to go into the Euro 2020 play-off final in Serbia on a high with back-to-back Nations League wins.
Scotland face Serbia in Belgrade on November 12, with the winner securing qualification for the European Championships next summer.
Clarke’s squad are on the precipice of qualification for a major tournament for the first time since the 1998 World Cup in France and could go to the Balkans on an eight-game unbeaten run – if they perform against Slovakia and the Czech Republic.
Clarke aims to continue the positive momentum by securing the maximum six Nations League points ahead of the date with destiny in Serbia.
He said: “The Serbians will be tough in their own country.
“Hopefully we can go there on the back of another two positive results from the games at Hampden.
“That would give us even more confidence to go into the Serbia game with the belief we can finally make the last step to take the country to a major tournament.
“We have a group of players who were really hungry to do well.
“The more positive results they get, and the more positive feedback they get, then the more they feel good about themselves and become a better team.”
Clarke says he never feared Scotland would lose the deciding penalty shoot-out in their Euro play-off with Israel.
The Scots were flawless in securing a 5-3 win.
Former Don Kenny McLean took the decisive kick, following keeper David Marshall’s save from Eran Zahavi’s opening penalty for the Israelis.
Clarke believes the football gods owed him a successful spot-kick shootout, having suffered penalty pain while a coach at Chelsea in the Champions League, when John Terry famously slipped and missed a potentially game-winning penalty against Manchester United.
Eventually United triumphed 6-5 on penalties in Moscow.
He said: “To be fair, football owed me one in a shootout after the last one I was involved in.
“I was at Chelsea when John Terry slipped and missed what would have been the winning penalty for us. It was nice to come out on the right side of a shootout this time.”