Derek McInnes tells Kilmarnock: some you win, some you lose

Kilmarnock manager Steve Clarke claimed Greg Stewart’s loan deal with Aberdeen has a “slightly strange smell about it” but Derek McInnes insists it’s a breath of fresh air that the player was ambitious to return to Pittodrie.

Greg Stewart is back at Aberdeen. Picture: SNS

Stewart scored eight goals in 16 games for the Rugby Park club during the first half of the season but Birmingham City cut the loan spell short before putting him back out to the Dons instead.​

That is likely to be the precursor to a lucrative permanent three-year deal for the striker once his current contract ends in the summer but he returns with a lot to prove after a paltry four goals in 38 games for Aberdeen during last season’s loan.​

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Just to add spice to the situation Kilmarnock head to Pittodrie on Saturday but McInnes insists it was nothing personal, just business, and unfinished business as far as Stewart was concerned. ​

“We asked the question about signing Greg on a permanent deal and I think Birmingham were open to that but it soon became clear that wasn’t an option,” said the Aberdeen 
manager.​

“It was going to be a loan deal if at all so we were asked to submit our best offer which we did and then heard Kilmarnock had matched the offer.

Birmingham told us, at that stage, it was up to the player, so Greg had a lot to consider and he came back to us which was really pleasing. We are just glad to get the player as we put a lot of work into it, but I have been on the other side when this sort of thing happens. Nobody has suffered more than me when it comes to losing players when the work we put in doesn’t come to fruition.

“Some you win and some you lose, but underlying everything was that the boy wanted to come and it was Greg’s decision where he went.”

McInnes is also expecting to be successful in his bid to sign Lewis Morgan on loan for the rest of the season as Celtic appreciate the job the club did when Ryan Christie moved to Aberdeen in similar

circumstances.

The arrival of Morgan would also provide cover if out-of-contract winger Gary Mackay-Steven joins New York City FC before the MLS side’s season begins in March.

Talks are at an early stage but the former Celtic player admits to being tempted by a move to America. His priority, however, is to get back playing regularly again as an hour’s run-out in the shock Scottish Cup draw with Stenhousemuir was his first involvement since suffering a serious head injury in the League Cup final defeat by Celtic in early December.

Mackay-Steven said: “It’s an injury you can’t take lightly and I’ve had effects from it up until the winter break in Dubai. I was still getting different symptoms and it wasn’t a nice time. Now I just want to get playing again, and I just need a bit more time to think about my future. ”

Mackay-Steven will start at Hamilton tonight but Connor McLennan misses the match with a hamstring injury.