Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes is “disappointed but not surprised” none of his players have made the latest Scotland squad.
National boss and ex-Dons winger Gordon Strachan, below, named his 27-man party for the must-win world cup qualifiers against Lithuania and Malta earlier this week.
Over a beleaguered campaign – where the Scots lie fourth in their group, with only eight points from six games – fans have consistently raised questions over Strachan’s non-selection of Dons players.
After establishing themselves as the second best side in the Scottish club game in recent seasons, there have repeatedly been calls for players like Graeme Shinnie, Kenny McLean and Mark Reynolds to be given a chance at international level.
Reynolds was selected the last time Scotland played – an unused substitute in a sensational 2-2 draw with England at Hampden in June – but is yet to be capped, while McLean was cut from Strachan’s squad when he whittled it down from an initial 29 to 24 players.
The Dons midfielder has been capped once for Scotland under Strachan, in a 2016 friendly with the Czech Republic.
New boys Stevie May and Gary Mackay- Steven have both played once for the national side in recent seasons.
Many fans also consider Ryan Christie worthy of a call-up.
Asked whether he was surprised by Dons players being omitted by the Gothenburg Great, McInnes said: “No, not surprised at all.
“You’re always hopeful every time the squad gets announced.
“You want your players to be recognised, because you get close to your players and you know how badly they want to be involved, and you want that for them.
“(I’m) disappointed, but not surprised.
“There are a few players who could have been looking with one eye at the squad and hoping they’d be in it. But if it’s not to be …
“It’s Gordon’s decision and the boys will get a well-earned rest during the international break, they’ll get a few days off and hopefully we’ll get the benefit of that – and hopefully they’ll be in the next squad.”
Strachan has said he won’t explain his selections nor apologise to anyone not included in the squad for the fixtures – the game in Lithuania takes place at LFF Stadionas in Vilnius on September 1, before Malta visit Hampden Park in Glasgow on September 4.
Strachan namechecked midfielder Shinnie, who has never made a squad before, and said: “I’m not going to sit here and apologise to every person who’s not in the squad.
“I got left out for more than a year with Scotland, but I looked at the squad and thought: ‘They’re no’ bad – and I’m no’ playing very well’.
“We’re really strong in that area. So I’ve got to pick who I think is right for this game.”
Strachan has named a dozen midfield players for the matches, with Celtic’s internationally-retired-then-not captain Scott Brown and clubmate Stuart Armstrong included.
In addition there were places for Sheffield Wednesday’s Barry Bannan and Fulham’s Tom Cairney.
Criticism of Strachan’s choices has also come from Hoops boss Brendan Rodgers, who was reported to have said he “didn’t know what else he can do”, in reference to Parkhead playmaker Callum McGregor’s omission.
Qualification for Russia 2018 has been poor for Scotland so far and they are behind England, Slovakia and Slovenia in the Group F table with four matches left to play.
The Scots are four points behind second-placed Slovakia and defeat in any of the next two games would make overhauling both Eastern European nations to qualify very difficult.