MALKY Mackay is set to hand Scotland debuts to on-loan Celtic forward Ryan Christie and Rangers midfielder Ryan Jack in the friendly against the Netherlands at Pittodrie tonight.

And he will also give Christie's Aberdeen team mate Kenny McLean, who won his first cap in the friendly against the Czech Republic in Prague last year, a second start for his country.

However, Mackay, who has taken charge of the national team on a temporary basis following the departure of Gordon Strachan last month, has denied calling up Christie, McLean and Graeme Shinnie simply to “sell tickets”.

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Kris Boyd, the Kilmarnock striker, described the Scotland squad as a “laughing stock” earlier this week and alleged the Aberdeen trio were only involved in order to boost the attendance.

“Anyone who knows me will be aware I’m never going to put a team out on the pitch to sell tickets,” said Mackay.

“They are all playing at a good level, they are all professional footballers, they deserve that respect. They are playing at the top of Scottish football for their clubs on a regular basis. They deserve that respect.”

A crowd of over 16,000 is expected to turn up at Pittodrie tonight to see Scotland take on a Netherlands team which is expected to include Daley Blind, Wesley Sneijder and Virgil van Dijk.

However, Mackay, the SFA Performance Director who has refused to rule himself out of the running for the job, denied that he had any pressure put on him to select Aberdeen players for the friendly international by the governing body.

Read more: Celtic midfielder Stuart Armstrong leaps to defence of Ryan Christie and Graeme Shinnie after Kris Boyd criticism

“Trust me, that’s not something that was an issue,” he said. “I wouldn’t have imagined the last manager would have done that. Honestly, there’s no way that was the case. Look at the squad. It is full of players who are playing at a good level. Absolutely not.”

Boyd, the former Rangers striker, also claimed that Jack had been shown more red cards than he had enjoyed good games this season, but Mackay has no concerns his comments will impact on his players' performance.

“I don’t see them being affected,” he said. “It’s water off a duck’s back. I’ve not felt the need to speak to them. There are remarks that footballers have to deal with all the time – in the media, on radio, on TV, on social media – that are disrespectful. All the time.

“I don’t know a player in the world who hasn’t had criticism. It is how you deal with it. If you deal with it in a way that parks it because you think ‘it’s not actually relevant to me because I know me and I know what I’m doing and my boss is telling me this and I’m playing every week’ then you’ll be fine.”

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Elsewhere, Kieran Tierney, the Celtic left back who has played for the national team at right back this year, will play at centre half while Callum McGregor, as Mackay confirmed at the weekend, will also win his first cap for his country in midfield.

However, Scott Brown, the Celtic and Scotland captain, will not be involved in the game having suffered an injury in training this week. The 32-year-old, though, will remain with the national squad.

“Unfortunately, Scott is injured,” said Mackay. “He has had a recurrence of something we have been nursing him through. He won’t be able to play. He has been terrific around the squad. He has trained with us, but unfortunately he is not going to make it tomorrow night. He will be with me all the way through.”