Scott Vernon hopes he has given Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes food for thought after an impressive hat-trick to inspire the Dons to a 3-1 away victory against Dundee United last night.
The 30-year-old Englishman, who is out of contract at the end of the season, made the most of his first start since January by breaking the deadlock after only seven minutes with a composed finish before United captain Sean Dillon restored parity 11 minutes before the break.
Vernon, however, headed home a second 10 minutes after the restart before completing his hat-trick in the 75th minute to take his tally for the season to nine goals as the Dons moved four points clear of third-placed Motherwell.
The result ended Dundee United’s hopes of finishing third and means Motherwell will join Aberdeen in next season’s Europa League, although United can still qualify for the competition if they win next week’s Scottish Cup final against St May Johnstone.
Vernon said: “I was expecting to be a little rusty but I got into the game straight away. Goals help and give you confidence and I am delighted with the result and performance.
“We said before that we want to decide our own fate and not have to rely on other teams to give us that second spot. It is no secret we want to finish second and we moved halfway there with victory here.”
Vernon hopes his second hat-trick of the season is enough to convince manager McInnes he deserves another year at Pittodrie.
He added: “I love playing for the club but I have wanted to play more this season. There is no point sulking, I just get on with it. I had my down moments when I wasn’t playing but I try to keep myself fit so that when I am needed I can produce.
“I don’t know about my future – you would need to ask the manager about that.
“I just do what I can do and try my best and if that is enough then we will see.
“Whatever will be will be.”
Xrefer, Pages 58, 59