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Post Split Week 5 | Hibs Preview | The Manager

May 17, 2019 4:48 pm Author: AFC Media Team
Post Split Week 5 | Hibs Preview | The Manager

The Scotland job

“What I’ve said to the Chairman is that I see myself as a club manager at this moment in time – that’s not changed.

“Publicly when you get asked about these types of things you can come across as arrogant sometimes. I’ve not been asked to be Scotland manager so it’s difficult for me to comment. I’ve said I’d like to be Scotland manager at some point and I’ve answered that in the past wee while. I’ve aspirations to manage my country whenever that may be, but for me I see myself as having work to do at Aberdeen. I’m a club manager and I’m not ready to give that up in my mind.

“Those are the conversations I’ve had with the Chairman regarding that and for me I can concentrate on what I’m trying to do at Aberdeen. We’ve got a big rebuilding job here to get the players in time for pre-season and hopefully to come back to European football. I would miss the day to day running of being a full time club manager. It’s not to say it’s not for the future and I think it’s down to each individual whether they want to give that up.

“My job here at Aberdeen is where I see myself.”

His own contract

“I speak to the Chairman often enough and we often speak two or three times a week. The opportunity to stay here has been brought up and that’s something we’ll look at. For now as I’ve said before we need to get players in and that’s where our focus will be. I wouldn’t be against sitting down with the Chairman and thrashing something out and I’m sure that can be done, but for now it’s trying to get the work done so we’re not undercooked and underprepared for when we come back.

“Hopefully we’re coming back to European football and we’ve got work to do to achieve that. Everything else we can put aside for now and the Chairman and I know where we both sit at this moment in time.”

The rebuilding job for the summer

“I’m focussing on trying to get good players in to add to the good players we’ve already got in the dressing room and to help deal without the ones who are leaving us. The club have spoken this week about trying to be more transparent and the Chairman’s said he’d like me to be part of that long term future and that’s great for me, my staff and players to hear. Any players we are speaking to or have spoken to are well aware of my intentions and how I feel about being at Aberdeen.

“This has been ongoing for a while and we’re not just waking up today thinking we need to get some players in.

“Good players who are out of contract normally have options, but there’s a lot more players under contract which become far more of a challenge for us because we naturally don’t have that money to spend.

“We’ve put plenty phone calls in and some irons in the fire, but a lot of these things you have to be patient with the players and the clubs who want to look at certain things. Nobody’s in a rush other than us because we want to put a squad together. We’d like to get some signings in before we come back for pre-season and I’m pretty sure we will.

“It is going to be a tough challenge, but I remember after the Scottish Cup Final a number of players left that year – Pawlett, Taylor, McGinn, Hayes and Jack and everybody said then that was the end of us.

“Last year we lost O’Connor, Christie and McLean and we’ve still been competitive this year.

“We still went to a cup final and lost twice to Celtic in the cups. There’s no shame in losing to teams like Celtic and we’re not getting dumped out of cups.

“Hopefully we’ll finish the season on 67 points despite all the injuries we’ve had to contend with this season. We wanted to break 70 points as quickly as possible and that’s not going to happen clearly, but we’re still competitive despite the injuries and hopefully they can deliver European football.

“Unfortunately, we’ve not got into the top two spots this season as Celtic and Rangers have done that and you can see clearly why with what they’ve got to spend. We’ve still been competitive in the cups and still intend to be competitive through the league next season. The squad we put together it’s important we give ourselves the best chance to be successful and go annoy people in the league and go get to more cup finals and bring a trophy back.”

Max Lowe

“Nothing’s changed for us. There’s no doubt club’s will be interested as Max is a good player, but he’s Derby’s player and they’ve got their own situation to sort out. Hopefully they can go get themselves promoted a week on Monday. I speak to Frank and Jody (Morris) often enough as well as Max and his agent and Max would love the opportunity to be here if Derby feel he should go back on loan. He’s said that often enough and I’ve got no reason to disbelieve him. We’d love to work with him again because he’s been a brilliant signing for us.

“He got the Players’ Player of the Year last night at the awards and I think that was a good choice from the players. He’s well regarded from not only the supporters, but also myself and his teammates. If there’s any way we can have positive conversations with Derby and I think they’re thankful for what we’ve done with Max. He deserves the most credit and has found a place where he’s happy. If he’s available then we’ll be pitching to bring him back.”

The challenge of Hibernian

“Paul’s team have been in a good vain of form over the last few months since he came in. Hibs did fantastic with Neil and had a good basis of a squad there, despite losing a number of influential players. They weren’t firing on all cylinders at the early part of the season, but Paul’s come in and managed to get results from them. Paul’s shaped them up and got them into a way of working that’s been able to pick up points and find that momentum. I’m sure they’ll want to finish on a high. For us to stay above Hearts and Hibs is really pleasing for us and we’ve done that over the years’ time and time again. Paul will be looking to change that and ending on a high. I look forward to meeting him and hopefully we can go get the all-important three points.”

Team news

“There’s a chance Gary Mackay-Steven could be involved. He’s done bits and pieces of work this week and has trained a lot of the session today and he was bright as a button so we’ll see if he can get on the coach tomorrow. I only want players on the coach who are fully fit and ready to go and hopefully he’s on the coach and ready to play his part.

“Shay’s good. He’s been rested down for the early part of the week, but he’s good to go.

“Connor McLennan’s back training and if there’s no reaction tomorrow morning then he’ll be travelling. Greg Halford, the game might come a bit too soon for him and we’ll see how he is as he’s keen to be involved. Young Frank Ross has done some work this week, but again the game will come too quick for him and it’ll be pre-season before we see him again.

“Joe’s got the all clear with his scan on his knee, but it’s pretty badly shook up and we’re hoping he’s going to be ok for Sunday. The good news on that is there’s no surgery required and it’s just a case of managing the pain. Like we saw last Friday night he was brave enough to put the team first and get through the game.”

Ethan Ross

“We gave him the Development Player of the Year and we gave him it for a reason. He’s been a standout performer for the Development squad and probably because of the injuries to the wider players Ethan’s been in and around the first team. Although he’s been training with us for a long time he’s been in the squads now and he’s more than holding his own. I love his confidence and he can go both ways, wrong foot defenders and he’s a lovely little player. We’ve got high hopes for Ethan and it’s important we let him manage his way and gain that experience as we go along, but he’s one we think can have an impact for us.”

Graeme Shinnie signing off with a win

“It’s important for us all to try finish off with a win and see where it takes us. All we can try and do is win the game and there’s no reason why we can’t. We’ve got the motivation and the players coming back. Hopefully the team can deliver the performance we’re capable of and if we can do that then we can certainly win the game.

“For Graeme I spoke about his relentless will to make sure he played in these last two games and it says everything about him and it says about everything we’re going to lose. Not just the player, but the man. He was hellbent on making sure he was involved in these two games. He’s had a good week’s work and I think he needed the game last week and it was important for him and us to be on the pitch.

“He’ll be there to take the team out on Sunday and hopefully we can get three points for him and everybody connected to the club.”

Sam Cosgrove

“Sam’s been sitting on that 20 goals for a number of weeks and we’d like him to get another important one for us to finish his season off strongly. We’re delighted with him and there’s been real positives with the younger ones really coming through.

“Whoever scores on Sunday we obviously need somebody to score and get that all important winning goal for the club.”

Player of the Year awards

“I think the three that it came down to from the supporters was Ferguson, Shinnie and Joe, and we’ve had others like Andy Considine, McKenna and Sam Cosgrove etc, but I wouldn’t disagree with the supporters choice. I think Joe has been fantastic for us, but every good team needs a good goalkeeper and we’re delighted and lucky to have Joe with us.”

Saying goodbye to the players who are leaving

“It’s a natural course of events and you get close to your players. You work with them everyday and get to know them personally. I love my players and love working with them and it’s so important to me. We can’t offer first team football to them all and can’t give them those guarantees. Some need to move on and some like Shinnie move on for something different, but it’s part of the job. I’ve been doing this for 12 years and the breakup of any team can be a bit emotional at times, but that’s the job.

“Before we know it we’ll be back in here talking about new signings and looking forward to the next one. It is important that while we work together we try leave our mark and I always say to the players to leave their mark while they’re here.

“We wish everybody well who moves on, but it’s one big effort ahead of Sunday and hopefully we can enjoy our summer break reflecting on a decent campaign.”

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