Aberdeen: keeping Jonny Hayes is '˜like signing a new player'

Aberdeen midfielder Kenny McLean believes that keeping Jonny Hayes at Pittodrie sent out an important message about the ambition of the club.

Aberdeen's Jonny Hayes stayed at Pittdorie despite interest from Cardiff. Picture: Alan Harvey/SNS
Aberdeen's Jonny Hayes stayed at Pittdorie despite interest from Cardiff. Picture: Alan Harvey/SNS

Cardiff had three bids for the Republic of Ireland winger rejected during the transfer window. The 29-year-old has been a major part of Aberdeen’s success under Derek McInnes and McLean is delighted to still have him as a team-mate.

Speaking ahead of the home Ladbrokes Premiership encounter with Partick 
Thistle, McLean said: “To keep Jonny is brilliant. It’s like signing a new player in a way because a lot of people maybe thought he was away.

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“When the bid came in I think everybody expected it just to happen. But fair play to the club for standing strong. It shows what the manager wants to do here, he is building something really good and he has been for the last few years.

“So keeping the boys together is a massive part of that and Jonny is a massive part of the team. Keeping your best players is what you need to do. A lot of clubs maybe would have just taken the money but fair play to the club.

“But right now, we look forward. Jonny is here to the end of the season at least now and we are happy with that. We just need to get back to 

Manager McInnes stated there had been no fresh developments in contract talks with Hayes after reports claimed the winger was set to sign an extension to his deal, which runs until the summer of 2018.

He said: “There is nothing new on that. Talks have been ongoing with Jonny and others over the last few weeks and months. There is nothing more imminent than what it’s been.”

Partick’s 1-0 defeat at home to St Johnstone on Wednesday night meant Alan Archibald’s side slipped back into seventh place, overtaken by Motherwell. And, while captain Sean Welsh is not too concerned about that at the moment, he is aware of the importance of the split and securing the safety of a top-six spot.

Ahead of the trip to Pittodrie, the midfielder said: “That would be massive for the club, to finish in the top six. That gives you that safety because it is going to be a real scrap in the bottom six after the split.

“Realistically, everyone is fighting for one spot in the top half. By the looks of it now, St Johnstone have kind of pulled away as well [in fifth place].

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“So we have a right fight on our hands for that sixth spot and that is what we are 
aiming for.”