Hibs midfielder Andrew Shinnie has admitted to being baffled as to why his younger brother Graeme continues to be overlooked by Scotland manager Gordon Strachan.
The versatile Aberdeen player is just one of three from Pittodrie who Dons boss Derek McInnes contends are worthy of international recognition.
But along with team-mates Ryan Jack and Kenny McLean, Shinnie has again found his name missing from Strachan’s squad which faces Slovenia in a crucial World Cup qualifying match at Hampden tomorrow night.
Now Andrew, who has one Scotland cap, admitted he is as puzzled as McInnes by Graeme’s ongoing absence from the Scotland set-up.
Revealing he shares McInnes’s view, he said: “I think Graeme has been unlucky for years. He gets overlooked and I don’t know why. There’s nothing he can do about it, he just loves his football.
“He gets seven or eight out of ten every week and he’s versatile as well, which is another good factor in a player. So I don’t know why it is, but Graeme isn’t going to let it bother him. He just enjoys his football and he’s happy with that. If if comes it will come.”
The relative merits of the Shinnie brothers will, of course, be on display when they go head-to-head for the first time in their careers as Hibs face Aberdeen in the semi-final of the Scottish Cup towards the end of next month, a scenario Andrew claimed was “written in the stars”.
He said: “It will be a good occasion for the two of us, getting to play against each other for the first time. It will be weird, but that’s football. We both play for big teams in Scotland and one of us is going to be in the final.”
However, as much as he is relishing that family day out, the on-loan Birmingham City midfielder was adamant he and his Easter Road team-mates can’t let the hope of retaining the trophy it took them 114 years to win interfere with the big target for this season – promotion.
Neil Lennon’s side currently sit seven points clear at the top of the Championship, an advantage they can cement when they face their closest rivals, Falkirk and Morton, in the space of five days.
Two seasons spent battling for promotion from the second tier of Scottish football have bred a familiarity between Hibs and today’s opponents, Falkirk, and although he wasn’t involved in those previous clashes, Shinnie admitted he has detected “a little edge” in the build-up to the game.
The 27-year-old said: “They really like beating Hibs – but everyone wants to beat Hibs in the league. They are a tough team to play against, they’re always up and around the promotion spots and if they’d turned up in the second leg of the play-off against Kilmarnock last year they would probably be in the Premiership now.”
Having said that, Shinnie agreed the significance of a Hibs victory could not be under-estimated. He said: “If we could get it, a win would be big for us and a big blow for them.
“They’ll look at it and think if they can beat us they’re maybe back in it. We can’t let that happen. If we can win it might be big in terms of putting one of the other teams out of the race.
“It’s a massive period. There are not a lot of games left and we also have Morton to play a couple of times. But that’s what you want to be involved in, trying to win a league and get promoted.
“We are still in the cup as well, we are right in there with a chance to do the double which would be unbelievable.”