Lewis Ferguson says he’s ready to become a Dons leader next season if Graeme Shinnie opts to cut his Pittodrie ties in the summer.
But the midfield star, nominated for Scotland’s Young Player of the Year, would far rather the skipper stayed on to lead the Reds next season.
Shinnie, pictured, of course, is one of 11 Aberdeen players who could leave this summer and has already held talks with Derby County.
And he might not play again for the Dons as a result of an ankle injury suffered at Kilmarnock
Ferguson said: “I would be quite comfortable taking more responsibility if Graeme decides to leave.
“I have a great relationship with Graeme on and off the pitch.
“He’s a really good professional and a top player who performs week in, week out. He’s so consistent and it’s good to play alongside someone like that.
“He’s everywhere on the pitch and he does both sides of the game.
“I would love him to stay and play on for another couple of years but if moves on then good luck to him.
“There are quite a few boys out of contract so we don’t know who’s staying or leaving – that’s up to them.
“It’s up to the staff and the club to bring in players that are good enough to play for Aberdeen and I think they will do that.”
The 19-year-old has enjoyed a terrific first season since signing from Hamilton and he hopes Aberdeen can make sure of European qualification in the final three matches by holding off Killie. But he knows Saturday’s clash with Celtic will be tough as the Parkhead men are desperate to get over the line and win the title.
Ferguson said: “It’s massive to clinch European qualification in the final three games.
“We’re in a strong position in the league so we are looking to secure it in these final three games.
“Saturday will be hard because Celtic are looking to secure the title. They are a good side with good players and we are without loads of our marquee players but the motivation is equally huge for us.”
Ferguson has been shortlisted for the PFA award along with Motherwell duo Jake Hastie and David Turnbull and Rangers winger Ryan Kent.
He said: “I’m delighted, ‘I was always quietly confident that I was good enough to get into the Aberdeen team and stay in it. Since then, I have just kicked on and never looked back.”