The landmark Andy Considine is set to post for Aberdeen this afternoon – making his 500th appearance for the club as they visit St Johnstone – shouldn’t be considered anywhere near the end mark, according to team-mate Scott McKenna.
Considine is still relatively young at 32 and maturing like a fine wine, believes the Scotland centre-back. Racking up 600 games for his local club since signing back in 1999 is something that McKenna sees as far from out of the question.
Only Willie Miller and Alex McLeish have surpassed this tally for the Pittodrie team. While, with a solitary League Cup winners’ medal, Considine – son of former Aberdeen player Doug Considine – can’t be talked about in the same breath when it comes matters on-field, McKenna would venture that the dedication of the defender off it would pass muster with any of the storied figures of the club’s illustrious past.
“Andy has been a great servant to the club, and I think he has a good few more appearances in him,” said the 23-year-old. “He’s still going strong and getting better with age, that’s just a sign of the professional he is. He eats well, he’s in the gym every day looking after himself, so he’ll still play for a number of years yet. It’s great to play alongside him and learn from him as we go.
“He’s an Aberdeen boy through and through, and he will love this moment. Knowing Andy, he’ll be looking to hit that 600 mark soon.”
McKenna acknowledges that there have been a number of times Considine’s grip on a first-team slot seemed threatened. A surfeit of centre-backs resulted in Considine moving from that berth to left-back in Derek McInnes’s early days. When Graeme Shinnie was signed four years ago, that left-back slot then looked under threat. McKenna believes Considine’s ability to survive all challenges helped him once he began to feature regularly for the senior side two years ago.
“It probably made it easier for me that he was playing there,” he said. “It was probably myself, Anthony O’Connor or Kari Arnason that played at centre-half that year, and that wee bit of extra protection probably helped me. You can be exposed at times if you have a full-back that bombs up and down, so Andy was brilliant for me.
“He has that experience and is a real calming influence. He never looks panicked at all, he just seems to be in the right positions at the right times. When Graeme Shinnie signed, Russell Anderson and Mark Reynolds were playing at centre-half with Andy at left-back. Shinnie was brought in as a left-back from Inverness, but ultimately Andy stayed at left-back and Shinnie was into the middle of the park. That just shows what he means to managers with that consistency, and managers have then been loyal to him, which is brilliant.”
As well as medals – plural – the glaring absence in Considine’s career has been full international recognition. He said this week he felt he could hold his own in the Scotland set-up, but no manager taking charge of the team has agreed with that assessment and he has been restricted to four under-21 and two under-20 caps. McKenna feels that his team-mate “definitely” could have stepped up. “He’s been so consistent for Aberdeen, but obviously the Scotland managers have had their own choices to make, and unfortunately for Andy he’s not had that chance.”
That ship has now sailed. However, Considine can comfort himself that at club level he has helped stem the leaks that seemed to have been springing violently from the vessel helmed by McInnes after recent torpeodings by Celtic and Rangers.
The Perth assignment this afternoon will see Aberdeen seek to pick up where they left off after the international break, with three stablising victories strung together after a 4-0 home mauling by Celtic.
“After the Celtic game, everything was doom and gloom,” McKenna said. “We’re back up to third now, so if that’s a bad start to the season then it’s exciting for the rest of the season. Hopefully we can keep putting in good performances.
“We have a chance to make it four from four and keep that momentum building. After what was a difficult start to the season, that’s what we need. We tend to go on a bit of a run at this time of the year. Last year it was December, but if we can do it even earlier and keep building, then that’s what we want to do.”
Aberdeen can count on Considine in any construction work.