At the weekend, Jonny Hayes was named as Aberdeen’s Man of the Match in the comfortable 3-0 win against Hamilton at Pittodrie.
I can certainly see why, as the newly capped Republic of Ireland international is arguably in the prime of his career. His dazzling runs, spectacular goals and work rate have all added to the Dons fine campaign so far this season.
Jonny is a breath of fresh air as far as I’m concerned, a player who, whenever in possession makes you rise from your seat to see what happens next. Long may it continue.
But having watched the game back the contribution of Graeme Shinnie has gone almost unrecognized. It’s a worrying trend if you ask me!
When it was announced that the former Inverness Caley Thistle captain had signed a pre-contract with the Dons back in January 2015 I for one rubbed my hands with glee. I confess that act had not been replicated since the acquisition of Niall McGinn three years earlier.
Shinnie is the type of player that the game has almost forgotten. Comfortable on the ball, comfortable going forward but most importantly he knows how to defend. Too many modern day full-backs have forgotten the first rule of playing in that role – defend!
Just look at Marcel at Real Madrid for example.
On Sunday I lost count how many times Shinnie attacked down the flank, it’s not just about being on the ball, the work off the ball is just as important. He has that uncanny knack of taking players out the game to allow room for the likes of Hayes and McGinn to exploit but with that all said and done the job at the back is done almost to perfection.
Football is such a simple game when played like this!
A coaches dream no doubt so why is he constantly over-looked at International level?
I wasn’t the only one who was baffled when Gordon Strachan named his squad for the recent friendlies against Denmark and the Czech Republic. Don’t get me wrong I was thrilled with the results and the fine job Strachan is doing but for the life of me, I just don’t understand get how one of our consistent players can’t make the squad.
I was all for young Celtic defender Kieran Tierney receiving his call-up and subsequent debut, what a fantastic prospect this boy is but can someone please explain to me how with the greatest respect Charlie Mulgrew gets the nod ahead of Shinnie?
Charlie is a top lad and a fine pro but I do need convincing that his performances this season have scored more points than Shinnie. I suppose all Shinnie can do is keep working hard, keep up the consistency and see where it takes him. I for one will continue to champion his cause. He deserves his chance.
As for the argument that Rangers’ Lee Wallace requires further recognition, I get it and understand the debate but let’s wait to see how the boy performs once Rangers ply their trade in the Premiership against the big boys.
Like before, I mean this with the greatest respect but Wallace has to be judged when he comes up against players of Jonny Hayes and Niall McGinn’s ilk not the young lads working tirelessly at Alloa, Livingston etc.
But let me tell you something for nothing, if Wallace gets the nod ahead of Graeme Shinnie in the not too distant future, a wee word with Strachan will be required – I bet he’s shaking in his boots!
Ally Begg’s column is sponsored by Dolly Digital, a freelance Graphic and New Media Design Studio based in Aberdeen. Check out their Aberdeen FC-related products now.