Ryan Fraser has praised his former Aberdeen team-mate Ryan Jack for his resilience in handling the abuse he received from a section of the Scotland support on his return to Pittodrie this week.
Rangers midfielder Jack, who joined the Ibrox club this summer, was jeered when he made his Scotland debut at right-back in the 1-0 friendly defeat against Netherlands in his hometown. Jack appeared unfazed, however, and his solid and composed performance was one of the more encouraging aspects of the 90 minutes from a Scottish perspective.
Fraser believes his fellow Aberdonian’s upbringing in the city’s Tillydrone area ensured he was never likely to be affected by the verbal sniping from the Pittodrie stands.
“You knew Jacko was going to get booed a little bit during the game,” said Fraser. “They were booing a bit but because he was having such a good game at right back, I don’t think the fans could boo him any more as the match went on. I thought he did very well and rose above it. Where he’s from in Aberdeen as well, it’s not exactly the nicest of places. He’s grown up in a bad part of town so I’m sure he’s had a lot worse said to him!”
Fraser, who won his second Scotland cap when he replaced James Forrest in the second half on Thursday night, also felt the displays of Jack, Kenny McLean and Ryan Christie provided the perfect response to Kris Boyd’s criticism of the squad selected to face the Dutch.
Former Scotland striker Boyd labelled it a “laughing stock”, questioning Jack’s inclusion on the basis of his form for Rangers and claiming the Aberdeen trio of McLean, Christie and Graeme Shinnie – who was an unused substitute on the night – were only called up in a bid to enhance ticket sales.
“I saw what he [Boyd] said, the whole squad saw it,” added Fraser. “I’ve grown up with the lads he was talking about, I’ve come up through the ranks with them, and they deserved to be in the squad as much as everyone else. I don’t know what he’s speaking about. He’s entitled to his opinion. Just because he says it doesn’t mean he’s right, and it doesn’t mean he’s wrong. You just need to get on with it. As a player, if he is going to say stuff like that, you just need to rise above it.
“As I said, Jacko did very well. It’s not his position, he hasn’t played right-back this season for Rangers, and he comes in and he’s playing against a world class player like Memphis Depay and he keeps him pretty quiet. What more can you ask for? If you ask Kris Boyd now, I bet he won’t be saying that.
“I don’t know if he [Boyd] is trying to make a name for himself. I know Aberdeen and Kilmarnock are playing in a couple of weeks’ time and he’s taken his anger out on Shinnie as well, and they’re both captains of their clubs, so we’ll see how that one goes!”
Bournemouth winger Fraser impressed on his own return to Aberdeen and will hope his performance helps him win a regular place at Premier League level for his club.