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St Mirren 0 Aberdeen 1: In-form Scots deserve to be swapping red for dark blue

IF international caps are handed out on the basis of form rather than reputation, then what chance a smattering of Aberdeen players making it into this week's Scotland squad?

Jamie Langfield embraces his former Aberdeen team-mate Gregg Wylde after Saturday's match. Picture: SNS
Jamie Langfield embraces his former Aberdeen team-mate Gregg Wylde after Saturday's match. Picture: SNS

Gordon Strachan, one of the heroes of the great Pittodrie side of the 1980s, is yet to cap a player from his former club during his 13 months in charge but that could change after he names his squad on Wednesday for next month's friendly away to Poland.

Ryan Jack, currently sidelined with a hip injury, was called up for the World Cup qualifying tie against Croatia last June but never featured in the match, meaning you have to go back to Chris Maguire in May 2011 to find the last time a player swapped Aberdeen red for dark blue. Prior to Maguire, there was a cap for Lee Miller in 2009 and one for Scott Severin in 2006; a fairly scant return for a club of Aberdeen's stature.

Given their form this season, however, a case could be made for a few players being propelled into the international scene. Mark Reynolds and Peter Pawlett seem the two most likely to be considered. Reynolds, who has a Scotland B appearance to his name, strengthened his case on Saturday by helping Aberdeen register another clean sheet against St Mirren, while Pawlett, who qualifies having been educated in Scotland, won the late penalty that was converted by Adam Rooney for the only goal of a scrappy game.

Goalkeeper Jamie Langfield was reluctant to be seen to be telling the Scotland manager what to do but felt his team-mates were in good form. "It's not for me to pick Gordon Strachan's team," he said. "He knows what he wants. Obviously we've got a couple of Scottish boys who are doing really well and then it's up to the Scotland manager. You see other players getting touted and rightly so, so if people want to say good things about our players, it means we're doing the right things on the pitch."

There were words of praise for Reynolds and the central defensive partnership he has struck up with Russell Anderson. "He has done ever so well since he came to the club," added Langfield. "His pace for a centre-half is incredible. He bails us out a good few times and I think the mixture of him and Russell has been superb for us this season - long may it continue for the rest of the season."

And what of Langfield himself? The 34-year-old has been called up for Scotland squads but never made it on to the pitch. Allan McGregor and David Marshall remain Strachan's first two picks in the goalkeeper position but Langfield - now just one game away from a century of clean sheets - could be considered next in line given his form this season.

"I just keep my head down and keep working away," he said in response to a possible call-up. "I'm more than happy with what I'm doing just now. If you ever get the chance to go away with Scotland, it's an amazing thing to do. If it was to happen again, I definitely wouldn't say no."

The goalkeeper had to wait until the 89th minute to make a save of note in a wretched game ruined by a blustery wind, demonstrating his alertness to keep out Gregg Wylde's driven effort. "The defence have got confidence in me and I've got so much confidence in them. When you're doing well as a team as well everything seems to come off for you. I'm enjoying that part and keeping concentration for the full 92 minutes. Thankfully I made the save and we've got the three points and a 1-0 victory."

Danny Lennon, the St Mirren manager, felt his team had been unfortunate to lose but, regardless, the defeat continued his team's poor run of form. They have won only one of their last 10 games and find themselves embroiled in the battle to avoid the relegation play-off place. "We have the players who are capable but there is no point if you can't perform on a Saturday," said midfielder John McGinn, the only star performer in an otherwise forgettable team performance. "This one was a tough one take and, while it was a scrappy victory for Aberdeen, it is something we need to do. How often do you say St Mirren win scrappily? We either win in style or lose and we need to start picking up points the ugly way."

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