Derek McInnes insists Aberdeen City Council’s decision to give the green light to the Dons new £50 million stadium and training ground complex means the football club will no longer need to feel embarrassed about facilities that are not fit for purpose.
The Aberdeen manager made personal pleas for the plans to go ahead at various pre-determination meetings in the build-up to Monday’s vote and believes the outcome has already made a positive impact at Pittodrie.
It will be at least three and half years before they leave there for a new custom-built 20,000 capacity stadium but it’s hoped the training complex will be up and running for the start of season 2019/20.
That is something McInnes identified as the main priority when he replaced Craig Brown in the job five years ago in March and the hope it would finally be delivered factored into his decision last year to reject moves to both Sunderland and Rangers.
He is aware of the benefits the new stadium will eventually bring to the club but is especially excited by the impact delivering those new training facilities will make to the playing side at all levels.
McInnes said: “The stadium is still going to be that good bit away but it’s brilliant to work towards that and it’s a fantastic result for us. Of all the good results we’ve had recently, it was clear the energy and atmosphere throughout the club when the verdict was delivered.
“We’re delighted that we’ve got the prospect now of something better actually happening for us and hopefully in the short term we can get the training ground up and running. It’ll be massive, not just at first-team level, but right throughout the academy.
“It is with a tinge of embarrassment that when we go and play other teams at all age groups that they have to play on the likes of Balgownie on poor surfaces, poor changing facilities and just a poor environment really.
“From the youngest youth team to the first team and ourselves we’re so looking forward to being more professional and working in an environment that will highlight the club in a more positive fashion. We’ve signed the likes of [Graeme] Shinnie and [Kenny] McLean and others and it’s always with the promise of something better.
“Up until this decision it was always about the promise of something. Now we can actually say with some degree of certainty that it’s actually going to happen. It was a huge step forward for us yesterday.
“I quickly step aside when players and agents ask about training grounds. You’ve got to try and be as honest with them as possible but you’ve got to try and focus more on what we can offer on the pitch.”
What they will hope to offer on the pitch at Dingwall tonight is a win to move three points ahead of Rangers in second place as the Ibrox club are on Scottish Cup duty at Fraserburgh.
Ryan Christie returns from injury but they will have to do it without Stevie May who is still sidelined, while it has been confirmed Joe Lewis could be out for the season after today’s operation to repair knee cartilage damage.
McInnes is confident of signing a replacement goalkeeper in time to be involved against Ross County tonight, with Newcastle United’s Freddie Woodman the favourite but he isn’t happy they have a game on transfer deadline day.
“I don’t think it’s ideal,” he added. “For us when we’re not looking to do too much it’s not so much of an issue but I do think that fixtures shouldn’t be scheduled for deadline day. I think it just complicates things. My focus and the players’ focus is just on the game and we know it won’t be easy after the way they played against Rangers on Sunday.
“Rangers were very dominant in the first half but it just shows you what can happen as Ross County were maybe a decision away from getting a point in the second half.
“That shows you their fighting qualities and you expect any team at the bottom end of the table to be battling away.
“Every point is precious with the games running out and there have been a few teams in the last couple of months who have fluctuated in that bottom spot. It’s their turn at the minute but they have the quality to get themselves away from it and they just have to build confidence with a run.
“It’s up to us to make sure that they get that sort of bounce down the line and not against us.”