DEREK McINNES has vigorously defended Graeme Shinnie after the Aberdeen came in for some extreme criticism following Scotland’s 3-0 flop against Kazakhstan last week.
The 27-year-old Dons star was asked by international boss Alex McLeish to deputise at left-back for skipper Andy Robertson, who remained at home for urgent dental work, and Kieran Tierney, who had to withdraw from the squad through injury.
Shinnie, who has been playing for the Pittodrie men in midfield this season, answered the SOS and struggled against the nation who are ranked 117th in the world and who were two goals ahead inisde 10 awful minutes.
The honest Reds ace accepted a portion of blame and admitted fears about his Scots future after the match.
He was left out of the 2-0 away win over San Marino on Sunday as Robertson returned.
McInnes, speaking on the club’s official website, said: “For Graeme to have taken so much criticism has really angered me over the last little while. It is bang out of order.
“Graeme is guilty of being too honest for his own good. He only played a part on a miserable night for the country. Everyone else played their part. Everyone involved has to take their responsibility.
“The fact we made so few tackles, committed so few fouls, did not show enough competitiveness; that had a bigger part to play for me.”
Shinnie is out of contract at the end of the season and is yet to agree a new deal at Pittodrie, but McInnes insisted he would not trade the former Inverness Caley Thistle player for anyone.
He added: “Graeme is someone who playing for their country means so much to him. I can understand his disappointment that he has not managed to take his opportunity and not showed what he is capable of.
“But in terms of his honesty, his commitment, he would win that fight hands down over any other player. Graeme will bounce back quickly. He is that type of player. If I could have a team full of Graeme Shinnies I would have them.
“I would not swap him for anyone. He means everything to me and how we want to play. He has got his faults at times, no-one is perfect, but he is someone who is so fiercely driven and fiercely competitive.
“If he had been played in the position he has been playing, he would have had a bigger impact on the game than maybe some others.
“For me, he is my captain. The players look up to him. He has to put it down to a bad day and it happens. He has had more good days than bad.”