“ There could not be any more love for Graeme Shinnie from our supporters. He plays the game exactly how supporters want players to play.” – Derek McInnes on Graeme Shinnie.
Even in an ever changing sport like Football, each team still has that group of fans that love so called old-fashioned football. The 4-4-2, team of hard-working physical types. I’m not here to bash those, more to praise a player that not only those but everyone can enjoy.
Graeme Shinnie established himself in the Inverness Caledonian Thistle team as a left back who loved rampaging beyond his winger contributing to attacks. As a left back, Shinnie featured in the 13/14 PFA Scotland Team Of The Year with the likes of Fraser Forster, Virgil Van Dijk and Andrew Robertson amongst others. During that season Shinnie led Inverness to the Scottish League Cup final where they were beaten on penalties by Aberdeen but his time would come.
In 2015, Shinnie set up the winning goal to defeat Celtic putting Inverness into the Scottish Cup Final where captained the side to their first ever Scottish Cup after beating Falkirk in the final. That would prove to be his last match for ICT as he then moved on to Aberdeen under the stewardship of Derek McInnes.
McInnes immediately asked Shinnie to play a variety of roles showing Shinnie’s versatility as a left back, defensive midfielder and left midfielder. In the 16/17 season, Shinnie shone in a midfield 3 that comprised of Kenny McLean who was the central creative force for the Dons and Ryan Jack who sat deeper putting out fires before they spread. Partnering an attacking player and a defensive player allowed Shinnie to be more of a box to box player. Shinnie would effectively be anywhere and everywhere on the pitch. He presses the opposition high and low forcing opponents to give up possession with either effective positioning or flat out bullying. Most impressively, Shinnie covers the field extremely well. Sideline to sideline no player in the SPFL Premiership covers the play better, stopping attacks and then starting them.
Following Ryan Jack’s departure to rivals Rangers, Graeme Shinnie had the honour of being made Captain of his boyhood club Aberdeen. A unanimous choice by club and fans Shinnie has grown into the role of being the “one of our own” fan on the pitch so to speak. Aberdeen fans love Graeme Shinnie for his aggressiveness in not only pressing the opposition but in dragging the team forward in transition. Certainly not the most creative player in the Aberdeen side, Shinnie specialises in being the third man runner from midfield which allows Shinnie to use his ability to control the ball on the run and play his part in creating chances for Aberdeen.
Graeme Shinnie will continue to boss the midfield battle for Aberdeen which will no doubt lead to interest from the English Championship who have a strong interest in Scottish players in recent history. One would hope that it doesn’t take a transfer out of Scotland for the national squad to give Shinnie his rightful inclusion. We’ll enjoy him whilst he is here anyway.