Aberdeen midfielder Willo Flood has set his sights on challenging Celtic for the Scottish Premiership title after signing a one-year contract extension.
The 29-year-old’s new deal will keep him at Pittodrie until 2017 and the Irishman sees no reason why the Dons cannot close the gap on the Hoops, one of Flood’s former clubs.
Flood believes with Derek McInnes at the helm, Aberdeen can mount a serious challenge to the Ronny Deila’s men.
He said: “I still had two years left, so I wasn’t even thinking about it but the manager pulled me aside and said he wanted me to sign the same length of deal as him.
“We have a lot of respect for each other as people and he has brought the club a long way in a short time.
“Aberdeen can go even further with him in charge and I want to be part of making that happen.
“There are a lot of boys on the same length of contract now, so he is obviously planning for long-term success here.
“If we have another good season like we should have then there will be a lot of speculation over the future of players like Ryan Jack and Peter Pawlett. They are coming on leaps and bounds, then you have boys like Nicky Low, Cammy Smith and Clark Robertson who are going to get better and better.
“This club is on the way up and I would love to see us challenging Celtic. That would be an aim for Aberdeen.”
Flood reckons he still has plenty to offer the Dons on the pitch but the midfielder is already planning for the time when his playing days come to an end.
He added: “I want to go into coaching and you can learn a lot from the people who are in charge at Aberdeen.
“I’ve done my B licence and I get assessed for my A one next summer.
“I told the manager last year that was my aim and he just said ‘keep going at it’ but there is nothing about a job here.
“I know if I do go into coaching he will always be on the end of the phone and people like Gordon Strachan and Craig Levein would be willing to give me advice.
“The manager is good on man management as you can go in and chat to him about football or family things.
“He is really good on the training pitch as he wants it to be at a high tempo and he is so in depth on the strength and weaknesses of the opposition.”