Midfielder Dylan McGeouch has vowed to hit top form under new boss Stephen Glass after 18 months of frustration.
The 28-year-old accepts his Dons career has been ‘stop start’ since joining from Sunderland in the 2020 January transfer window.
Injuries and football’s lockdown last March due to the coronavirus pandemic prevented the Scotland cap from building concerted momentum.
Since his move to Pittodrie, McGeouch has managed just 18 first team starts.
He suffered a major blow last October when sustaining a serious groin tear that ruled him out for almost four months.
Finally returning to action in February McGeouch mustered just two starts before new gaffer Glass offered him the opportunity to impress.
He grabbed it with a strong performance in a defensive midfield role in his first start under the new manager, a 2-1 defeat of Livingston.
The midfielder subsequently started the remaining two games of the season against Hibs and Rangers.
Although both games ended in defeat, McGeouch is going into the summer with positive momentum and is determined to hit the heights in Glass’ restructured team next season.
He said: “I just need to get a run of games and stay injury free then hopefully everyone will see the best of me.
“Last year I had a few games then played against Hibs (3-1 win) at home.
“However then we went into lockdown straight after that.
“That was a disappointment as I thought I was going to kick on then as it was my best game for Aberdeen up until then.
“Now I want to get good pre-season under my belt, under the new manager and hopefully I can kick on.”
McGeouch produced a man of the match performance in that 3-1 defeat of Hibs at Pittodrie on March 7 last year.
It was the final game before Scottish football was shut down at all levels due to the coronavirus pandemic.
When football finally returned after a summer of uncertainty the new campaign was full of promise for McGeouch as he started all three Europa League ties against Sporting Lisbon (1-0 loss), Viking (2-0 win) and NSI Runavik (6-0 win).
However he was restricted to just four more starts, three under Glass, over the duration of the season.
Asked if the arrival of new manager Glass feels like a fresh start for the midfielder, he said: “I think so. Obviously with the whole Covid situation, last season ended and this one has been stop start for me.
“The new manager coming in is a fresh slate for everyone.
“It is a chance to show what you can do and hopefully he likes it and gets me involved.
“Going into next season there will be a turnover of players.
“Then during pre-season we will working under how he wants to implement his new team.
“I am looking forward to it.”
Aberdeen will return for pre-season training in the third week of June in preparation for the European campaign.
The Reds enter the Uefa Conference League at the second qualifying round stage on Thursday July 22.
The draw will be made for that round by Uefa on June 16.
McGeouch aims to use pre-season to impress Glass and push for a starting slot in Europe.
He said: “We’ll get pre-season together and implement everything the manager wants.
“In the short time he’s been here, it’s been clear messages and hopefully it will suit myself and I can get a run of games.
“Hopefully the way he wants to play will suit me.”
Aberdeen will enter Uefa’s newly created third tier European cup competition.
It is the eighth successive season the Reds will compete in continental action having previously featured in the Europa League for seven campaigns.
McGeouch is relishing another campaign in Europe after facing Portuguese giants Sporting Lisbon early in the 2020-21 season.
He said: “We had a taste of it at the start of this season as we had some good ties and then came up against Sporting Lisbon.
“It is great to be involved in those sorts of ties.
“We will take whatever comes our way next season.”
The Conference League may be the third tier of Uefa’s club competitions, below the Europa League, but McGeouch believes that does not necessarily mean the route to the group stages will be any easier.
There are still likely to be big European clubs in the tournament.
He said: “It just depends on the draw really, who knows.
“To be involved in European football, especially for a club like Aberdeen, getting to the groups is a priority.”
⚽️ Listen to this week's Northern Goal:
— EveningExpress Sport (@ee_sport) May 18, 2021