Bryson with Dons to win – not wind down

© SNSCraig Bryson
Craig Bryson

Aberdeen midfielder Craig Bryson has dismissed the suggestion he is returning to Scotland to wind down his career.

The 32-year-old was offered a new deal at Derby County but says the challenge of trying to win trophies with the Dons was too much to turn down.

Bryson, who missed the Rams’ run to the English Championship play-off final at the end of last season with an ankle injury, has joined up with his new teammates for their pre-season training camp in Cork.

He said: “I don’t want people to think I’m coming up to Scotland to wind down my career and basically just wait to retire.

“I had offers in England and I could have stayed down there.

“I want to play in the big games, such as semi-finals and finals.

“I’m really looking forward to it and I will be doing everything I can with the rest of the players and the manager to try to get the club some more silverware.”

Bryson is unlikely to feature for the Dons in their Europa League first qualifying round tie against Finnish side RoPS but he is hoping to play his part in helping the Dons reach the group stages of the competition.

The Reds have bowed out of the competition in the third qualifying round four years in a row under Derek McInnes before being defeated in the second qualifying round by Burnley last season.

Bryson said: “I have been playing football for 16 or 17 years and I have never had the experience of playing in European competition.

“Hopefully this season we can get all the way through to the group stages.

“The European games are games you should win, especially in the first and second qualifying rounds.

“They become that bit tougher because the teams you are facing are halfway through their season, while it is our first competitive game.

“If we are on our game there is no reason why we can’t go further than we did in the last couple of years.”

Bryson had several options after deciding to leave Derby but was persuaded Pittodrie was the best place for the next chapter of his career by Dons manager McInnes.

He added: “Every time I spoke to the gaffer I liked what he had to say.

“Aberdeen have been up near the top of the league for the last few years and always playing in semi-finals and finals.

“That is what I want to be part of.

“I had the chance to stay in England at Derby and another couple of clubs.

“There was also some interest from other clubs in Scotland but coming to Aberdeen just felt right.

“After speaking to the manager and the assistant manager, there was nowhere else I wanted to be.”