DEREK MCINNES admits Scott McKenna would have been an Aston Villa player if Steve Bruce had moved quicker and offered more money for the 21-year-old Aberdeen and Scotland defender.
The Dons manager turned down the English Championship club’s £7 million bid for the player on transfer deadline day but revealed that his Villa Park counterpart had been warned earlier in the month to move sooner.
McInnes was unwilling to lose the highly rated youngster with so little time left to find a replacement but he knows it’s only a matter of time before McKenna leaves after Celtic also had a bid for the Aberdeen academy graduate rejected recently.
McInnes said: “It was crucial we kept him (McKenna) to be honest, we can’t get out of the bit with injuries but I had a conversation with Steve Bruce last week and he said they might make a bid.
“We told them they would have to do it soon because the later in the window it was, the more resistance there would be to it.
“He (Bruce) is one of the good guys but when I saw my phone ringing from him on Friday there was no chance it would happen.
“The figure wasn’t enough anyway but the timing was the bigger factor behind it. We couldn’t replace McKenna with five hours to go.
“Scott is a good boy, he was fine with the Celtic thing. It could easily turn his head but we are not dealing with a standard footballer, he’s a bit special.”
McInnes suffered his first defeat in 21 games against Kilmarnock with the early dismissal of Mikey Devlin a key factor.
That wasn’t the only incident that frustrated him though as referee Craig Thomson was the latest official to cause consternation.
McInnes will consider appealing Devlin’s straight red card and he also said: “We are aggrieved by the build-up to the first goal.
“It’s different if it’s accidental, but he (Stephen O’Donnell) handled it and played it into his team-mate’s path. That should have been a handball.
“Refs need to make decisions and we don’t feel we got the rub of the green today because Shinnie is also adamant he won the ball at the free kick as well.
“It was a fantastic free kick from Eamonn Brophy, take nothing away from that, but that goal made things very difficult.
“We are disappointed with some of the decisions out there.”