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McInnes: I feared Jonny Hayes had played his last match for Aberdeen

Derek McInnes with Jonny Hayes during his first spell at Pittodrie.
Derek McInnes with Jonny Hayes during his first spell at Pittodrie.

Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes feared Jonny Hayes had made his last appearance for the Dons but now hopes the Republic of Ireland international will play a central role in his long-term vision for the club.

The Dons rejected three bids from Cardiff City for the 29-year-old during the transfer window and have offered the attacking midfielder an improved contract in the hope he will remain at Pittodrie until at least 2019.

Hayes still has 18 months left on his current deal but McInnes is keen to get another of the club’s most valuable assets tied down after vice-captain Graeme Shinnie signed a contract extension last month.

He said: “We did something similar with Graeme where we tried to move ahead of that situation where they are in the last year of their contract.

“Jonny and one or two others are in on-going talks about their contracts before they go into their last year. It’s something we’ve always been quite good at doing.

“I’m hopeful that more will follow suit and follow Graeme’s lead by committing longer.

“It’s a huge boost that we’ve managed to get Jonny to stay with us.

“When I wrote the team sheet out for the game against Dundee a week ago, I was wondering if it was going to be the last time Jonny was with us. That was a real possibility.

“We should be thankful and grateful that the supporters are going to see Jonny running out again against Partick Thistle and doing his business for us.

“It’s important we all take a minute to realise the importance of keeping our good players, such as Graeme and Jonny.

“Hopefully, the supporters show that appreciation.

“I’m sure they thought leaving the game, when Jonny was taken off against Dundee, it might have been the last time they might see him.”

After Wednesday’s 1-0 defeat by Celtic, the Dons will look to get back on track with a victory against Partick Thistle at Pittodrie this afternoon.

McInnes added: “I still thought there were a lot of positives to take from the Celtic game.

“We tried to treat the game like going to a European venue by being really compact and trying to impose ourselves on the game defensively.

“You’re up against a team that’s played Champions League football and you’ve got to deal with that. I thought the players did that.

“We really got after Celtic and pressed them high. There was a lot good about the game but ultimately we went there to get a result and were disappointed we never managed to do that.”

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