Scott McKenna has praised Aberdeen team-mate Andrew Considine for the leading role he has played in his own development.
At the age of 23, McKenna has already captained Scotland and been the subject of numerous multi-million-pound bids for his services.
The Dons have been successful in holding on to him so far, but will need to pull off something of a miracle to get the service out of him they have from Considine, who is set to make his 500th appearance for the club away to St Johnstone today.
It is a spell that stretches back to 2004 and, McKenna insists, the 32-year-old has been generous in sharing his experience around.
“I’d definitely say Andy has been a mentor to me,” said the big centre-back.
“It probably made it easier for me that he was playing at left-back and I didn’t have a marauding full-back there. I always had that protection on my left-hand side.
“It was probably myself, Anthony O’Connor or Kari Arnason that played at centre-half during my first year, and that wee bit of extra protection probably helped me a bit more than I realised.
“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 was brought in as a left-back from Inverness, his place in the side looked under threat.
“Ultimately, he stayed where he was and Shinnie was pushed up 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.
“I am actually a bit surprised he has never had a call from Scotland over all the years because he has been so consistent for the club.
“Andy is definitely going to love this moment on Sunday, though, because he is an Aberdeen boy through and through.”
Considine sits sixth in Aberdeen’s all-time appearance list and while catching Willie Miller (797) and Alex McLeish (692) looks beyond him, McKenna could see him finishing above Jim Leighton (535), Stewart McKimmie (561) and Bobby Clark (594).
“Knowing Andy, he’ll already be looking to hit that 600-mark soon,” said McKenna.
“As much as he has already been a great servant to the club, I think he has a good few more appearances in him.
“He’s still going strong and getting better with age. That’s just a sign of how professional he is.
“He eats well, and he’s in the gym every day looking after himself, so he’ll still play on for a number of years yet.
“It’s great to play alongside him and learn from him as we go.
“He still comes up with things we are not expecting. You saw an example of that with his goal in the 3-1 win at Ross County.
“It was a great finish from him and the celebration that followed wasn’t bad either.
“I pulled him down at the half-way line because I couldn’t be bothered chasing him back any further!”
While it might be asking a little much of the Banchory-born stopper to mark his 500th with another goal, McKenna is confident he will get a win to celebrate from today’s trip to McDiarmid Park.
“We’re in a good bit of form, winning three out of three since the Celtic game.
“So what a chance it is to make it four from four and keep that momentum building,” he said.
“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 this year and keep building, then that’s what we want to do.
“After the Celtic game, everything was looking disastrous, everything was doom and gloom.
“We’re back up to third now, so if that’s a bad start to the season then it’s exciting going forward for the rest of the season.
“Hopefully everyone stays fit, and we can keep putting in good performances.”
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