Kevin Thomson: Ryan Jack must stay focused to face Celtic

It's Scottish Cup final day and stripping Ryan Jack of the skipper's armband is a brave call by Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes.

09/04/17 LADBROKES PREMIERSHIP ABERDEEN v RANGERS (0-3) PITTODRIE - ABERDEEN Dejection for Aberdeen's Ryan Jack after conceding

He has been a major part of their success. I’ve always liked him. He is similar to me in that he is a sitting midfielder. If and when he does move to Rangers he is going to have a big challenge in getting on top of Scott Brown – that’s his direct competition.

He struggled to do that at times for Aberdeen. Moving to Ibrox, if that is where he ends up, is a big challenge for him but one he has to take.

Sign up to our Football newsletter

Sign up to our Football newsletter

It gives him a bigger profile as a player and it’s better financially. It’s also a better opportunity to push himself into the Scotland squad playing in front of 50,000 every two weeks.

As for the stripping of the captaincy, I have been there myself thanks to John Collins. It was a huge blow for me, especially being a boyhood Hibs fan. Willie McKay, my agent, was trying to instigate some moves for me and Collins thought my eye was off the ball and my performances had dipped. He came out with a press statement saying the captaincy was a distraction I did not need.

That was it. It was ludicrous. We never had a good skipper-manager relationship.

So I know how Ryan will be feeling. It’s heightened because Rangers and Aberdeen dislike each other and they are rivals. But the focus is now on will he get booed? And is he still committed to the club?

Of course he is committed to the club. Scott Brown signed for Celtic yet he played against them and scored. Ryan’s commitment should not be in question. Taking the armband off him in my opinion puts even more scrutiny on the situation. It exposes it. The issue now has greater magnitude than needs be the case.

It should just be about getting your best 11 players on the park.

If Derek, who sees him every day, thinks his effort levels have dropped then that’s a different story. But I would be disappointed and surprised if that’s the case.

I imagine he is bursting with pride to get success for Aberdeen and beat his potential new club if he goes to Rangers. He’d already be a bit of a cult figure in the Rangers fans’ eyes if he helped stop Celtic do the treble.

I felt a wee bit naked when I lost the armband. I was a popular boy in the dressing room and all the boys looked up to me – I was one of the youngest club captains in the club’s history.

But, to be fair, Rob Jones was brilliant. And I left quite soon afterwards anyway. From leading the team out, John had me sitting on the bench. I did things and said things that were wrong, so did John. It was probably down to inexperience on both of our parts.

If someone takes the armband from you and questions your commitment, you bite back. He created a situation where it was easy for the fans to get on my back.

It was making a mountain out of a molehill.

Derek might feel let down and betrayed by Ryan. But I was fully committed in respect that I trained hard every day. But when you feel your back is against the wall you need to come out fighting. Some of the things John said to me would have us rolling around in the street if they were said now.

That’s how it was for the four or five weeks before I left. Do you regret it? Of course.

It will hurt Ryan. If he has fire in his belly it will. But you have to be professional and get on with it.