Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner. Facebook Messenger An icon of the facebook messenger app logo. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Facebook Messenger An icon of the Twitter app logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. WhatsApp Messenger An icon of the Whatsapp messenger app logo. Email An icon of an mail envelope. Copy link A decentered black square over a white square.

Duncan Shearer: Aberdeen cannot afford to lose Ylber Ramadani

Albanian international is a key player for the Dons.

Ylber Ramadani is a key player for Aberdeen. Image: SNS
Ylber Ramadani is a key player for Aberdeen. Image: SNS

Aberdeen must do all they can to keep Ylber Ramadani.

Italian Serie A side Lecce have been linked with a move for the Albanian international midfielder but the Dons say no approach has been made for the 27 year-old.

Ramadani has established himself as a key player in the heart of Barry Robson’s midfield and the Dons manager would hate to lose him with the start of the season only a month away.

Aberdeen have brought five new faces in so far and Robson will have been thrilled at the prospect of reuniting his midfield trio of Ramadani, Graeme Shinnie and Leighton Clarkson.

They combined to great effect to help lead the Dons back into Europe but Lecce’s reported interest in Ramadani would leave Aberdeen scrambling around among the sloppy seconds for a replacement.

When other clubs have a head start on you in their recruitment the last thing you want is to be scarpering around looking for a defensive midfielder at this stage of the season.

I know the club, like every side, was impacted financially by the Covid pandemic but between player sales and qualification for the group stages of Europe to look forward to I can’t imagine they’d be in a hurry to part with a key player.

Ramadani is just that. If he was fit, he played, and it was not hard to see why he has become such a fans favourite.

Losing him would be a huge blow for Aberdeen and I’d imagine if Lecce are serious about wanting to bring the player to Italy they had better get their chequebook out.

Portugal trip part of the plan for preparing for Europe

From left, Barry Robson, Peter Leven and Neil Simpson during an Aberdeen training session. Image: SNS

I’m sure the interest in Ramadani will not adversely affect Aberdeen’s week in Portugal, however.

He is an Aberdeen player until the club decides to sell him and I’ve no doubt the Dons boss is working his players hard this week.

I’m not sure Aberdeen need to go to Portugal to build team morale mind you.

I remember the old club physio David Wylie picking me up from the airport when I joined the club in 1992.

The team was a week ahead of me in pre-season training and when I asked David what the plan was he said we would be based in the Highlands.

We ended up finishing the season as runners-up in all three domestic competitions so staying local clearly wasn’t that much of an issue in our build-up.

I know the weather will be nice in Portugal and the manager is keen to get his players used to travelling ahead of Europe.

That is why the players are being put through their paces in a training camp overseas as well as playing four away friendlies as preparation.

The two games against Turriff United and Fraserburgh will get the team up to speed before bigger tests at Preston North End and Charlton Athletic.

If the manager thinks this approach to pre-season can best prepare his side then who am I to question it?

All I’m saying is I didn’t notice any real link between where we trained in pre-season and how we performed in my career.

Defence must be the priority now for Ross County

Eammon Brophy has joined Ross County on a permanent deal. Image: Ross County FC

There is certainly no lack of attacking players in Malky Mackay’s Ross squad now, that’s for sure.

With a new contract for striker Alex Samuel as well as the signings of Eamonn Brophy and Jay Henderson Mackay is spoiled for choice with the options he now has at the club.

Add in Max Sheaf, who appears to have a goal threat of his own from midfield, and it looks on paper as if there will be much to be excited about this season.

But surely the defence will now be the priority for the manager?

The departure of Alex Iacovitti and Keith Watson leaves Jack Baldwin and Dylan Smith as the recognised central defenders on the books at the club so reinforcements will be needed there.

The announcement of the fixtures on Friday makes for tough viewing for County fans too.

There will be little time to settle into the season with games against Celtic and Rangers in the opening three weeks of the campaign.

It’s going to be another tough Premiership but County face a really challenging start as they bid to avoid their struggles of last season.

Billy Mckay is crucial for Caley Thistle’s hopes of winning promotion

Inverness striker Billy Mckay. Image: SNS Group

Inverness supporters have received the news they have been craving – Billy Mckay is staying at Caley Thistle.

I feared the veteran Caley Jags forward was heading out the door at Caledonian Stadium when news emerged other clubs had made offers for the striker.

With 100 goals in his three spells Billy may be in the veteran stage of his career – he’ll be 35 in October – but when it comes to scoring goals he remains the best at the club and one of the most dependable in the division.

There has not been much in the way of transfer activity at the club so far and the players moving on have garnered more attention than those coming in so far.

A seventh season in a row of Championship football awaits Inverness and for me their best chance of winning promotion back to the top flight is with Billy in the side.

As great as the run to the Scottish Cup final was last season, missing out on the play-offs was a huge blow.

They need to be back in the hunt this season and with Billy leading the line I hope with a few additions they can be.