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Graeme Shinnie | Red Matchday Feature

May 11, 2019 6:53 pm Author: Malcolm Panton (Red Matchday Editor)

 

The Dons skipper spoke at length this past week to the Red Matchday editor about his time at Pittodrie, who also caught up with him last night after the Dons 2-1 win over Hearts.

“I tried my hardest.

“I was probably not 100% fit built I was desperate to play, especially as this would be my last game here. It was not nice thinking I would not get the chance to play for Aberdeen again after picking up the injury at Kilmarnock.

“Before this, I think I have only missed something like seven games over four years – most of them were probably suspensions!

“I was gutted this year because I had played every minute up until the Scottish Cup semi-final. Actually, I think I had played every minute since last year’s semi-final, which I also missed. That was tough. I wanted so badly to play in those games, and it would also have been nice to have played every minute in the league this season. You can’t really do anything about injuries so I just wanted to play in these final two games, give my all and help Aberdeen finish third.

“I was just desperate to be on the pitch on Friday night and the boys got the job done which was the most important thing.

“I put so much pressure on the physios! Adam and Tony have had to work so hard this season. I wanted to get back out onto the pitch. I hate sitting watching games, even sitting about and not training.

“I worked hard through the week to give myself a chance.

“I trained on Thursday and I did not feel too bad so I strapped it up as much as I could, took some paracetamol and got on with it! I just hoped that I would not let my teammates down.

“It was not about me. I just wanted to help my team win the game because we still have a lot to play for. We got the job done against Hearts and will have to go and do the same against Hibs. It would be great to finish my Aberdeen career on a high.”

 

“Sunday will put an end to my time at Pittodrie.

“I really appreciated the send off I got from the home supporters on Friday. Most of the fans seem to understand my decision and why I made it. That has made this week a lot easier for me and I really appreciate their support.

“It was a really tough decision to make because I have loved my time here. I have some great memories from these last four years, but I just felt with the age I am at and having a chance to go down to England and play at club who are pushing to get into the Premier League, it’s an opportunity I could not turn down.

“I went down to Derby and had a look around. The training facilities and stadium were very impressive. All they talked about was trying to get promoted to the Premier League. They have Premier League facilities, the set up and the fan base, everything is there for them to try and push on and get there. With that in mind, it was an exciting challenge for me.

“Frank Lampard was not a bad midfielder in his day! Having a manager like that, with what he has achieved in the game and his experience, it will be good to go down there and learn from him.

“Every manager has got different styles and different ways of playing. I have learned a lot here from the coaches and the manager and I still feel I am at an age where I can learn more from someone who has done a lot in the game. It will hopefully help me improve.

“It was always going to have to be something really good to take me away, I always said that, and I really gave it a lot of thought. I spoke to my wife, my dad and my brother who is down in England and has played in the Championship. It was a family decision in the end. It will be difficult to leave but football is a short career and I have to make the most out of it. I want to try and achieve as much as I can in the game.

“The club did everything they possibly could to keep me, they could not have done more and that was such a good feeling. I appreciate everything the club have done for me over the past four years, especially during this spell when there has been so much speculation. The club and the manager have been different class and I can only thank them.”

“There are so many good memories of my time here.

Playing so many games has been a good thing itself. Staying clear of injuries has been really good. There have been some great games. Some of the European nights were special. The performance in Rijeka was very good. I will also remember the goal against Limassol here. If I had to pick a favourite it would be that one. I enjoyed my first goal against Kilmarnock, but the Limassol goal was special with the fans singing my name after it. I probably won’t score a goal like that again! Only 12 goals in four years? That is terrible! I should be scoring more.

“I’m disappointed not to have got my hands on some silverware but with Celtic doing what they’ve been doing, it was always going to be tough. Aside from the Motherwell Scottish Cup semi-final last season, which was so frustrating, the cup finals and semi-finals we have lost have been to Celtic, but they have been in such good form.

“The 2017 Scottish Cup final, if we were playing against any other team, maybe any other Celtic team in recent years, I believe we would have won that game. I know it is easy saying that but we had such a strong team and we pushed Celtic so hard all the way that day in their invincible season. That was the strongest Celtic team I have ever seen. Losing in the game in the last minute is still painful.”

“I do love the place.

“I have a great relationship with the manager, one of the strongest I have had. I have a great relationship with all the staff. There are so many people around the club that I get on well with. You come in every day and chat away to people. Everyone is smiling and joking away. It is just a really good place to be. It is a top, top club here and I don’t think people realise just how good it is. And I have a great relationship with the fans who have been so supportive towards me, ever since I arrived.

“But the opportunity to join a club pushing for the EPL was too good to turn down. That was a massive thing for me. I feel now is the right time for me to go to England and try it down there because a couple more years and it would maybe be too late.

“When I came down here four years ago, I had other options but Aberdeen felt right. At that stage of my career, I felt this was the right club for me to develop and experience some good times. And that is the same way I have looked at it this time. Is it that what I want? Is it the right club? Is it a step in my career? Is it a new experience and something different? It just feels like the right thing to do.

“I have had a great four years here and I have achieved a lot. We’ve had some good times but I feel now is the time for me to down to England and try it down there, to have a new challenge to try and progress as a player. The opportunity was too much to turn down, but if I ever get the chance to come back here in the future, I would be happy to do so.

“On behalf of all the players in the dressing room, I’d like to thank you all for your support over the course of the season, all over the country, in all kinds of weather. We reached another cup final but just fell short on the day and were denied another Scottish Cup final in the last four, both times beaten by Celtic who again, have been the best in the country this season. Hopefully we can at least reward you by clinching European football.

“And from me personally, I want to thank you all for the support you have given me over the past four years.”

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