Derek McInnes was frustrated in his attempts to make further additions to Aberdeen’s squad before the transfer window slammed shut but keeping Jonny Hayes at Pittodrie for the immediate future more than made amends for that.
Efforts to sign striker Stevie May on a loan deal from Preston ended in failure, leaving Celtic’s on-loan midfielder Ryan Christie as the only player recruited in January.
However, he does have the considerable consolation of having Hayes available for the rest of the season after Cardiff City had a £600,000 bid for the Republic of Ireland international rejected.
It was the third time in a fortnight the English Championship side have had an offer for the player turned down and McInnes intends stepping up efforts to get Hayes to extend his current deal with the club beyond the summer of 2018.
Those talks will resume in the next few weeks but the priority is tonight’s visit to Parkhead and McInnes is certain Hayes is in the right frame of mind to help Aberdeen end Celtic’s unbeaten run in domestic football.
He said: “Cardiff made another offer before kick-off last Friday night but it was only an extra hundred grand. That fell way short of our valuation so it was an easy one to reject it.
“I won’t criticise another club but I don’t think there has been a real desire from Cardiff to get it done.
“Jonny will get more opportunities but it has to be right for everyone and I think he deserves enormous credit because if he has been unsure what is happening with him then he has never shown that in his training or the games.
“He has helped us win the last couple of games and his approach has given me a lift. He is one of the players we have spoken about extending his contract and we will get round to that.
“Right now we’re focused on the Celtic game but Jonny is well aware of the importance this club puts on him.”
Three years ago this month Hayes scored in the 2-1 win against Celtic at Pittodrie that was the only league defeat suffered by Neil Lennon’s side in the whole of that season.
Now McInnes would like nothing better than to end Brendan Rodgers’ team’s 27-game unbeaten run in domestic football but to do that they must end Aberdeen’s dismal form at Parkhead.
They have lost the last 23 league games in a row at the venue but McInnes insists records, whether good or bad, are there to be broken and the significance of doing that tonight can having a massive bearing on the rest of their season.
“It is only three points but any team who can get a result against a team like Celtic at Parkhead then you always get a bit more than that. The three points and the confidence you gain,” he claimed.
“I think they deserve congratulated for the run they’ve been on because a lot of good teams and good managers haven’t managed to do what this team has done.
“There have been other good and strong teams in Scottish history but with this Celtic team they have shown good ability, a real attacking threat. It’s a big compliment to their focus as well as their ability.
“So for us to end that run, we have to commit to being on the ball, being aggressive and trying to play the way we have in the past.
“Going to Celtic Park is the biggest challenge you face but we are in good form and have shown that. I think we have individuals playing well and the team is performing well, so we’re in a good place.”