Player of the Year nominee Jonny Hayes is key to Aberdeen’s continued success, Derek McInnes has claimed.
The Dons winger has been named alongside Celtic trio Stuart Armstrong, Moussa Dembele and Scott Sinclair on this year’s shortlist and McInnes is under no illusions about how important Hayes has been for his side.
The Irishman was the subject of three bids in January, the final of which was reported to be worth around £600,000, but McInnes was keen to hold on to one of his biggest stars – a move that seems to have paid off as the Dons get set for their first Scottish Cup final in 17 years later this month.
He said: “It was very important that we retained Jonny as we do not want to lose our good players at any time, let alone a January window when we still have so much to play for in the season.
“It was important that we resisted any offers and we did. We wanted Jonny to help us finish second and win the Scottish Cup.
“And that is where we are now and Jonny has played his part along with everyone else to try to make that happen for us.”
McInnes said the club were “delighted” for the player following his nomination and said it was “recognition for the good season he has had”.
He added: “The improvement in Jonny year on year for the last few seasons has been excellent.”
This year’s nomination makes it two years in a row for Hayes who missed out on the prestigious award last season to Celtic’s Leigh Griffiths.
The 2017 winner will be announced this Sunday at PFA Scotland’s annual Awards Dinner at the Hilton Hotel, Glasgow.