Evening Express

Manager McInnes says McKenna is still fully focused on Aberdeen after Celtic bid

Scott McKenna.

Boss Derek McInnes today confirmed Scott McKenna is focused on a successful season with the Dons – after Celtic’s bid for the defender was knocked back.

Aberdeen stood firm against the Premiership champions and rejected a bid understood to be £3.5 million for the Scotland international.

McInnes insisted Celtic were told the 21-year-old was not for sale but the Hoops still pitched in with a bid to land the centre-back, who recently captained Scotland in a 1-0 loss away to Mexico.

The multi-million bid from the Hoops was immediately kicked into touch.

The Reds reportedly value McKenna, who is contracted until summer 2023, at £10m – the record transfer between Scottish clubs is the £4.4m Celtic paid Hibs for Scott Brown in 2007.

McInnes would not put a price tag on McKenna but is convinced he will be on the radar of English Premier League clubs – the level he believes McKenna is destined to move to.

The rebuttal from Aberdeen prompted Celtic boss Brendan Rodgers to admit he has ended his interest in McKenna, for this window, which closes on Friday August 31.

As far as McInnes is concerned the matter is closed and McKenna will be at Pittodrie when the window shuts.

McInnes said: “There was a conversation with Celtic and they were given no encouragement to make an offer.

“But the offer came in and we rejected it and move on.

“Scott is an important player for us and we want him to hang about here a bit longer and fulfil his potential with us.

“We are quite relaxed about it to be honest.

“We are in no rush to sell Scott and when he does move, which he will at some point, it’ll probably be to a Premier League club down south.

“There will be clubs who keep Scott on the radar in the English Premier League no doubt about it. I do believe he is that good – in time.

“But for now his short-term ambitions are to get back into our team and be an integral part of our team for this season.”

McKenna is currently sidelined with a hamstring tear sustained in the 1-1 draw with Rangers.

The centre-back is set to return after the international break later next month.

Aberdeen rejected approaches from Championship Swansea earlier this summer.

They also knocked back four bids, with the final in excess of £1m, from Championship Hull City in the January window.

McInnes said: “Scott is just concentrating on getting himself fit and into the team.

“The Scotland games are going to come too soon for him although he has had his head around that for a while now. Scott is progressing really well.”

Aberdeen will be bolstered for tomorrow’s league trip to Hibs by the return of Shay Logan from suspension.

On-loan Manchester United striker James Wilson is in contention to make his debut having shaken off an ankle injury. On-loan Watford defender Tommie Hoban will also return from a knee injury.

However, winger Niall McGinn is set to be ruled out having suffered a calf injury in the warm-up before the 4-0 Betfred Cup win over St Mirren.