Best is still to come from us in second half of the season, says Dons skipper Shinnie

Aberdeen's Graeme Shinnie.

Skipper Graeme Shinnie has warned the best is yet to come from the Dons in the second half of the season.

Aberdeen have returned from their warm weather camp in Dubai and are targeting Scottish Cup glory – and closing the league gap on Celtic.

The second half of the campaign begins on Saturday with a Scottish Cup fourth round tie against Championship leaders St Mirren at Pittodrie.

Just four days later the Reds travel to third-placed Rangers in Premiership action.

Dons boss Derek McInnes has added Niall McGinn and Chidi Nwakali to the squad this month and Shinnie reckons they are revitalised and ready to go for glory.

Shinnie said: “There is definitely more to come from us.

“It is going to be a big second half of the season, we know that, and we are ready.

“We want to do our job in the league by cementing second place and getting as close to Celtic as we can.

“We have the fight for second and we have a very strong squad here for it.

“There are some great players in this Aberdeen team.

“We know how important this stage of the season is from last year, and the rest of the campaign is something we are really looking forward to.”

The first hurdle for the Dons is a tough tie against the visiting in-form Buddies on Saturday.

Shinnie lifted the Scottish Cup in 2015 as captain of Inverness Caley Thistle.

Having suffered cup heartache last May in losing the final 2-1 to Celtic, Aberdonian Shinnie is determined to get his hands on the trophy again.

He said: “We want to go one further than we did last year and bring home the Scottish Cup.”

Aberdeen went into the recent winter break just eight points behind league leaders and defending champions Celtic.

The Reds also registered more points at this stage of the season than they did last year.

For Shinnie that is despite their form being “stop-start” – and he anticipates Aberdeen moving up a gear in the remainder of the campaign.

He said: “We are in a good position and have more points at this stage than we did last season.

“The season has been a little stop-start so far as we have ground out some good wins.

“Some of the performances have not been up there with the level we know we can get to.

“However, in this league it is about winning games and getting points on the board.

“When you are doing that you are always going to be happy.”

Aberdeen took advantage of the Premiership shutdown to jet out to a warm weather training camp in Dubai for the second successive year.

There may have been sun, sea and sand but the Dons skipper was quick to emphasise it was no holiday.

And it ensured the Reds are ready for the rest of the campaign.

He said: “Although we were in Dubai it was not a holiday – it was a training camp.

“We all had our heads fully focused on the hard work that had to be done there.

“It has been a good start to the season as we have put ourselves in a good position. But there is still a lot of work to be done.”