ABERDEEN manager Derek McInnes admits he was surprised that none of his players made the PFA Scotland awards shortlist.
But the Dons boss knows his men will be more concerned with bringing collective success to Pittodrie than individual accolades. The likes of Russell Anderson, Peter Pawlett and Willo Flood have impressed this season but none were among the contenders for players’ player of the year.
Kris Boyd joined Celtic trio Kris Commons, Fraser Forster and Virgil van Dijk on the main list while St Johnstone striker Stevie May made up the young players’ list with Dundee United players Stuart Armstrong, Ryan Gauld and Andy Robertson. But Aberdeen players have League Cup winners’ medals and the chance to secure second place in the Scottish Premiership, and McInnes feels that is their focus.
When asked about the omission, McInnes, whose team face Inverness tonight, said: “Surprised? Yes. I think there’s a couple of our players would have run close and I’m surprised about one or two that have been mentioned. But it’s the players that vote for it and there is nothing you can do.
“I have a high opinion of my squad and a few players in particular have stood out. It’s disappointing but in the big scheme of things it’s not about personal glory, it’s always about trying to achieve things together. I don’t think there will be too many disappointed, we are just concentrating on the job in hand.”
The Dons missed out on another chance for glory when they lost to St Johnstone in the William Hill Scottish Cup semi-finals on Sunday, but McInnes feels his players will “come out fighting”. And he insists there is no way they will take a European place for granted despite a nine-point lead over fourth-placed Dundee United.
“There’s nobody thinking we have got a European spot,” McInnes said. “We still have points to win. I feel after the split it becomes more and more crucial to win games because you’re playing against your direct opponents, and we’re going to have that over the next five matches.
“At this stage last season there was nothing to play for, we were in the bottom six, and sometimes the season can drag on. But for us there is still a lot of excitement ahead. Nobody will be feeling sorry for themselves, we’ll be going right to the end to try and get the points that’s needed to bring European football back to this club.
“Because we are in this situation we can say that now. We wouldn’t have said that at the start of the season but the consistency and form has been so good that we now have a chance to make that happen.
“And now we’re in that position, we have to do all we can to make it happen.”
Ryan Jack is suspended for Aberdeen’s Scottish Premiership clash at Inverness.
Winger Jonny Hayes has returned to training following a collarbone injury but he is unlikely to make the game against his former club.
McInnes otherwise has a full squad with Alan Tate and Calvin Zola both fit.