Scotland boss Gordon Strachan has defended his decision not to include any Aberdeen players in his World Cup qualifier squad.
The Dons are clear at the top of the Premiership table and are the only top-flight side to still boast a 100% record.
However, Strachan yet again snubbed the Dons for the double header against Lithuania away on Friday and Malta at Hampden on Monday.
Dons boss Derek McInnes recently admitted he was “disappointed” no Aberdeen players were in Strachan’s 27-man squad for the qualifiers.
Strachan has also came in for flak for over-looking in-form Celtic midfielder Callum McGregor.
Hoops manager Brendan Rodgers had expressed “surprise” at his player’s omission from the national squad in light of the 24-year-old’s starring role in the Parkhead side’s return to the Champions League.
McGregor was beaten to a call-up on Monday as Tom Cairney pulled out and was replaced by James Morrison of West Bromwich Albion.
Asked about his critics, Strachan said: “Have they seen Barry Bannan play this year? He’s been the best player in midfield in the Championship.
“Have they seen Tom Cairney play for Fulham?
“Have they seen Darren Fletcher playing?
“Have they seen this one playing, that one playing?
“Do they also understand what I’m looking for over the next two games?
“What type of player I need over the next two games? These are things I have to think about.
“I understand every manager wants their players to be involved because they are all proud of their players.
“You can say the same about the Aberdeen players, or Jordan Rhodes.
“I understand managers want their players in the squad but they have to understand the type of players I need for these games.”
Scotland will play on an artificial surface in Vilnius, Lithuania, in the first of two “must win” games in the faltering bid to qualify for Russia 2018.
Scotland trail second-placed Slovakia by four points in the battle to secure a play-off spot.
Strachan admits he empathises with McGregor who scored the late equaliser for Celtic to salvage a 1-1 draw against St Johnstone at the weekend.
He said: “We are stronger in some positions and weaker in others.
“Sometimes you can be unfortunate because you are playing well but we happen to be strong in your position.
“If you look at four or five midfield positions we have about 15 players who could possibly be in this squad.”