On the face of it, replacing one 25-year-old Aberdonian with another 25-year-old Aberdonian is not the most radical move of all time.
But Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes’ decision to switch the captain’s armband from Ryan Jack to Graeme Shinnie for today’s Scottish Cup final with Celtic has inspired five days’ worth of debate.
Having grown up in the city, both Jack and Shinnie are aware what today means for the Pittodrie club. But only one already has experience of lifting the trophy, Shinnie having done so as skipper of Inverness Caledonian Thistle when they defeated Falkirk two years ago. This has perhaps informed McInnes’ decision as much as speculation that Jack is set to join Rangers.
While his last Scottish Cup final appearance was an unforgettable day, Shinnie was slightly shame-faced when he admitted he still hadn’t collected his cup-winning Inverness shirt from a framing shop in Aberdeen.
The perfect plan would now be to wait until he can bring another cup-winning shirt to be given the same treatment.
“I wanted it framed and [Inverness goalkeeper] Ryan Esson knows someone so I sent it to him but I haven’t picked it up yet,” Shinnie explained.
“Hopefully I’ll be going to him with another one so he can do me a ‘buy one get one free’ deal! There isn’t any real reason I haven’t picked it up, I’ve just never got round to it.
“Ryan got all the boys to sign it for me and sorted it out for me, but I’ve just never been there to get it. The guy who owns the shop is a big Aberdeen fan and comes to all the games so I see him all the time.
“He’s always asking me when I’ll be in for it and I tell him ‘I’ll be in next week’ but I keep forgetting about it. That has pretty much been going on for two years. I really need to go in, so hopefully I’ll be heading there next week.”
Not that Shinnie needs a souvenir to stir memories. His cup-lifting exploits were re-played enough times on television in any case, forming part of Sky Sports’ graphics for a spell. But now the shots are no longer used and Shinnie is keen to create some new visuals.
“I used to see myself lifting the trophy on Sky Sports now and again and every time it was on I’d have pals texting me saying they’d seen my ugly face again,” he said.
“But it’s gone now. I think they changed it at the start of this season so people will be happy that I’m not there any more. I have watched it back a few times. It’s good to watch the game and also the semi-final [v Celtic].”
Shinnie will almost certainly be up against the in-form Stuart Armstrong, left, another 25-year-old whom he first met when they were together at Inverness. Somehow Armstrong slipped through the net in the Highlands. But Shinnie believes his former club-mate’s renaissance since then is testimony to his determination to succeed.
“Stuart was at Inverness at the same time as me, he was coming through in the Under-17s when I was in the Under-19s,” recalled Shinnie.
“Caley actually released him because they needed to cut money after being relegated, which was a major mistake on their part. They will be kicking themselves for that.
“You could see back then that he had a lot of potential, but the decision was financial because of what happened. He went to Dundee United and has done really well for himself. He took a hit being released at that age but what he’s done since has all been down to him.”