Reynolds believes Adam Rooney can strike it rich

Adam Rooney: Premiership's top scorer. Picture: SNS
Adam Rooney: Premiership's top scorer. Picture: SNS
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Defender Mark Reynolds has backed Aberdeen team-mate Adam Rooney’s candidacy for Scotland’s player of the year prizes.

The Pittodrie frontman has blasted 25 goals for Derek McInnes’ team already this season and leads the Premiership scoring charts with 15 league strikes.

He is already being tipped to be among the contenders for the various awards handed out at the end of the season.

Celtic forward Kris Commons is barred from voting for any of his Parkhead team-mates so says his nomination for the PFA Scotland gong will go to Rooney.

eynolds insist the Irishman deserves to be mentioned alongside the likes of Celtic trio Craig Gordon, Virgil van Dijk and Stefan Johansen.

He said: “A striker who scores that amount of goals has to be doing something right.

“Adam has been massive for us this season and scored some important goals in all competitions, so it’s nice to see him getting that recognition.

“We’ve always known he was a top player and that he’s capable of scoring that many goals. Hopefully he can continue that form for a couple of years here.”

Aberdeen’s 1-0 victory over Inverness on Wednesday all but kills off the Highlanders’ hopes of pinching second place from McInnes’s team. They are now 11 points clear in the runners-up slot but Reynolds admits their title challenge has already faltered, with Celtic seven ahead with a game in hand.

The centre-back is convinced, though, that barring any major slip-up, his side should claim their highest league finish in 21 years.

He believes finishing as “best of the rest” would be a bigger result than last year’s League Cup triumph.

“It would be a massive achievement,” said Reynolds ahead of tomorrow’s Rugby Park clash with Kilmarnock. “The club and everybody here should be rightly proud of it.

“Anyone can win a cup and while it’s nice to have some silverware, it’s a lot harder to show that consistency over 38 games. The performances we have put in have been great and just shows where we are going.

“Hopefully it’s something we can build on for next season.”

Kilmarnock defender Lee Ashcroft will be tasked with having to shackle Dons striker Rooney if the eighth-placed Ayrshire side are to get a positive result as they look to keep away from the relegation play-off spot – and he is looking forward to the battle.

He said: “Aberdeen have been brilliant and you relish the challenge of playing against players such as Adam Rooney.

“I have played against him before. I know what he is like.

“His confidence is obviously high so it is going to be even more of a challenge, but I am definitely up for the challenge.”