ABERDEEN manager Derek McInnes believes returning midfielder Barry Robson will pep up the performances of his team-mates.
The former Celtic and Middlesbrough midfielder missed 10 weeks of action after sustaining a knee injury in the Pittodrie side’s Scottish Premiership opener against Kilmarnock on 3 August. But the 34-year-old marked his return against Dundee United, another of his former teams, last week when he was given the final 25 minutes of Aberdeen’s 1-0 win.
Now McInnes has paid tribute to the former Scotland international, claiming his reserves of experience will only benefit the Dons’ younger recruits.
“What Barry brings is an ability to affect and to improve people around him,” said McInnes ahead of tomorrow’s trip to Hibernian. “He has got plenty of experience and it’s important that we use his experience as well as his ability. However, we have to be mindful that he was out for 10 weeks. We never anticipated that he would be out for that long.
“To even get him back on the pitch last week was good. We still have work to do with him to get him back up to speed.
“But it’s great to have him in around the training ground. He does have that influence on the side.”
During Robson’s lay-off, his place was filled by the likes of youngsters Ryan Jack and Nicky Low. Other fresh-faced talents such as Joe Shaughnessy, Clark Robertson and Michael Hector have also tasted action this term but McInnes insists they will have nothing to worry about if they are forced out of the team by older colleagues.
The Dons manager said: “What it indicates is that we have got real strength now. The young ones have come in of late and shown their worth. But they have not been discarded because a couple of boys are back. They will be happy they have contributed and shown their manager and the supporters that they can be called upon.
“That was always the feeling anyway but sometimes you need to play to reinforce that confidence in yourself.”