Ryan Hedges says Aberdeen should aim to split Rangers and Celtic next season

Aberdeen had just seen their flickering hopes of overhauling Hibs in the chase for third extinguished by a Christian Doidge goal and a defensive tenacity they could not cope with. But Ryan Hedges was already looking at bettering the likes of Rangers and Celtic next term.

Hibs' Paul Hanlon competes with Ryan Hedges during the match which decided the teams league fate this term. Photo by Mark Scates / SNS Group

His dream included Champions League football rather than Conference League qualifiers, which will have to suffice at the start of next season, but to have any chance of reaching the stars, new Dons boss Stephen Glass will be looking to address his side’s issues in front of goal, given the part they played in undermining this season and forcing the departure of his predecessor.

On a night when places were decided, the 90 minutes perfectly illustrated why the Leith side came out on top.

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Defensively, they worked as a unit, front, middle and back, to defy an Aberdeen side who probably should have won given their grip on possession and the way they tried to carve out openings. And while Hibs slotted away one of the few opportunities that came their way, the fact that visiting keeper Matt Macey had very few saves to make reiterated Aberdeen deficiencies in that department this season and the need to ensure a sharper cutting edge and a more clinical finish next term.

“The main thing is that we have now lost and third place has now gone. Over the course of the season we haven’t been good enough to warrant that. We haven’t lost third by losing on Wednesday we lost it over the course of the season,” Hedges said.

It was their 12th game without a goal since the turn of the year.

“I felt if we had got the first goal we probably would have gone on and won. We dominated the ball more and had half-chances but it was that final ball that was lacking.”

But he believes that the management will address the issue and with just a year left on his current contract, how well they do could decide whether the Welshman considers a new deal to extend his stay in the north-east.

“The management have looked at what they want. They have already recruited two or three players and I’m sure it will be a busy summer but this season has now been and gone.

“We are now focused on Saturday [against champions Rangers] and trying to spoil the party there. Then kicking on. With fans back in the stadiums, and European competition again, there should be a feel-good factor going into next season.”

And, the 25 year-old midfielder has big goals

“It is not just third [we are aiming for]. This season with Celtic faltering, you never know one of the Old Firm might falter again. It is then up to us to capitalise on that.

“At the start of the season, it looked like we could but for whatever reason we tailed off.”

But with an additional Champions League spot at stake next term, a top-two finish is even more appealing.

“The main thing over the last couple of months has been to get back fit. That has been my sole focus but now I am fit the club will probably sit down and see where I am. But, that’s definitely a reason to stay.”

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