Derek McInnes hailed outgoing Aberdeen skipper Graeme Shinnie as the last of a dying breed as he signed off his Pittodrie career with a win.
Shinnie was a surprise inclusion in the Dons starting 11 for last night’s 2-1 win over Hearts, after knocking on McInnes’ door the day before the game telling his manager he was ready to play.
The former Caley Thistle man had initially been expected to miss the rest of the season, following an ankle injury sustained against Kilmarnock. There had then been talk of him making a return for the last game of the season at Easter Road, until his name was on the team-sheet yesterday.
Greg Stewart’s goal ensured the Dons took all three points in a scrappy encounter, with Shinnie serenaded off the field by the Aberdeen faithful in his last game in red at Pittodrie.
McInnes said: “It was great to see Shinnie in a winning performance in his last home game for us. He, above anyone, needed to leave on a winning performance. He clearly wasn’t fully fit but is an example to others. It’s a dying art in the modern age to make others around you better. Shinnie is a team player in the true sense of the word and I’ve never worked with a player who has a connection with the support like he heas. He’ll rest that ankle this week and hopefully be ready to go next week.
“He was healthy enough to run about. He took painkillers and had his ankle strapped; he came to my door on Thursday and said he was ready to play. Shay had a tight hamstring and he’s similar in his approach – robust boys that takes a lot for them to miss games. The physios had their doubts but when you have your captain saying he’s ready to play, you listen.”
The Aberdeen manager will now have to look to replace the influential midfielder and also admitted he is looking to add another centre-back in the summer. However, links to ex-Don Ash Taylor, who left for Northampton Town after the 2017 Scottish Cup final, appear premature, despite the Welshman being transfer-listed by the Cobblers.
McInnes said: “Ash met my head of recruitment at a game a couple of weeks ago – I don’t know if there’s anything more than that. We’d like to bring in another centre-back and there’s five or six under consideration.
“We’ll weigh everything up but it’s news to me, other than a conversation he had with my head of recruitment at a game a couple of weeks ago.”