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Derek McInnes: The best and worst signings of his Aberdeen tenure

Derek McInnes.
Derek McInnes.

Derek McInnes had the longest spell of any manager in charge of Aberdeen since Sir Alex Ferguson so inevitably, had a significant number of players under his tenure.

Here, Paul Third runs through his six best and worse signings of the McInnes era at Pittodrie.

Kenny McLean

The St Mirren captain quickly established himself in the heart of the Dons midfield following his move to Pittodrie in January 2015. Joined Norwich in January 2017 and was immediately sent back to Aberdeen on loan for the rest of the season. Scored 25 goals in 158 appearances for the Dons.

Graeme Shinnie

Shinnie moved to Aberdeen on a free transfer from Caley Thistle. He arrived a Scottish Cup winner after captaining Inverness to cup glory and quickly became a firm favourite among the support for his no-nonsense aggressive midfield style. Named captain at Aberdeen and was capped by Scotland during his time with the Dons. A key presence in the side until joining Derby County in 2019.

Adam Rooney

Rooney joined the Dons in January 2014 and quickly became first choice striker at the club. Broke the 20 goal barrier in three of his four full seasons at the club with his best return coming in 2014-15 when he scored 28 goals. Left for Salford in 2018 having scored 88 goals in 197 games.

Shay Logan

Joined Aberdeen initially on loan from Brentford in January 2014 and made his debut in the League Cup semi-final win against St Johnstone at Tynecastle. A regular in the Dons defence, Logan has made almost 300 appearances for the club.

Joe Lewis

Lewis joined the Dons in the summer of 2016 and has been Aberdeen’s Mr Reliable. His form and consistency led to him being named captain by McInnes following Graeme Shinnie’s departure in 2019. As you would expect for the skipper Lewis is one of the first names on the teamsheet at the club.

Lewis Ferguson

A virtual unknown when he moved to the Dons from Hamilton Accies, Ferguson made an immediate impression and when available has started for McInnes. A dynamic, powerful midfielder, Ferguson has been a mainstay of the Dons midfield in 2018 and seems destined to play in England.


Ronald Hernandez

The Venezuelan seems destined to go down in Aberdeen’s history as one of the most intriguing and bizarre signings. A virtual unknown when he arrived from Stabaek of Norway in January 2020 for £800,000, Hernandez was seen as a bold new strategic acquisition for the Dons.

However, fast forward a year and Hernandez has headed out the exit door at Pittodrie after making just six appearances, three of them coming from the bench, and is currently going through pre-season training after joining Atlanta United on loan.

Greg Tansey

Tansey’s struggles at Pittodrie were no fault of his own. A talented midfielder who McInnes had courted 18 months before eventually landing him from Caley Thistle in the summer of 2017, Tansey struggled with injuries during his Dons career and left for St Mirren in 2019. Those injuries have since forced him into retirement.

Stevie May

McInnes brought the former St Johnstone striker back to Scotland from Preston North End for £400,000 in 2017. He was a hot property following his first spell in Perth but May was unable to recapture the form in his time at Pittodrie, managing eight goals in 75 appearances. He returned to Saints in 2019 after cancelling his contract with Aberdeen.

Gregg Wylde

The former Rangers winger was one of the first signings made by McInnes in the summer of 2013 but while Willo Flood and Barry Robson made significant impressions at Pittodrie Wylde’s move to the Dons was a disappointment and he left the club in January 2014 having scored once in 10 appearances.

James Wilson

Arguably the player with the highest pedigree to join Aberdeen in the McInnes era, moving to Pittodrie initially on loan in August 2018 from Manchester United, before returning on a permanent deal. But for all his undoubted talent he managed just four goals in 48 appearances for the Dons before joining Salford in January 2020.

Nicky Maynard

The striker was certainly not lacking in confidence when he arrived at Aberdeen in the summer of 2017. He predicted the Dons could win the league and backed himself to score 20 goals in Scotland. He left having made 25 appearances, 21 of them from the bench, having failed to score a single goal.