McInnes delighted to sign up Devlin with injury no concern and the future full of promise

Michael Devlin at Pittodrie where he hopes to shine with Aberdeen.

Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes today insisted he has no concern about Michael Devlin’s long-term injury.

The Hamilton centre-back signed a three-and-a-half year deal tying him to Pittodrie until summer 2021.

However, the Accies skipper has been ruled out since suffering a tear to his anterior cruciate ligament in May.

Devlin is still recovering from that serious injury and expects to be back next month or in March.

After a stringent medical before completing the transfer for a nominal fee, McInnes is confident the defender will make a full recovery.

The manager hopes the centre-back can be in contention to make his Reds debut later this season but admits he will not force the issue – as Devlin was initially viewed as a signing for the 2018-19 campaign.

He said: “We did a full medical on Michael and are satisfied. Although there is an injury there most players with a similar injury go on to have a fantastic career.

“He is a good age and I have no concerns about that.

“We are in a time and an era now where players recover from injuries better.

“While he has had injuries I feel he will go on to have a big impact on our team. Injuries are part and parcel of the game. He is a very mature player, motivated and driven.

“For someone so young he has amassed a lot of games despite his injury. Michael was something for the summer and we don’t want to put too much pressure on him for this season.

“The likelihood is that although he may get back before the end of the season, I will be delighted if he does.

“The pre-contract we were keen to do with him but after speaking to Hamilton there was a deal to be done there.”

Devlin will continue his rehabilitation at Pittodrie.

He was sensational at the back in Hamilton’s 1-0 defeat of Aberdeen last February, a game where the Reds had 20 shots at goal and forced more than 21 corners. Devlin also scored the winning goal.

McInnes reckons he has secured a “leader of men”.

He said: “He is a player I have admired and he is a great age and a captain of Hamilton.

“It is great to have him here now and it means our medical lads can get into him and get Michael moving the right way.

“When you study the opposition there are key players within every team.

“It was clear Michael was a leader of men, a good type and a real influence on the Hamilton team.

“We have seen that before as we took in Graeme Shinnie (Inverness) and Kenny McLean (St Mirren) who were captains of their clubs. We have taken in another captain of a similar age.”

Asked if there was a risk signing a player recovering from long-term injury, McInnes insisted the ligament damage was not an issue.

“There is a risk with every signing you make,” he said.

“It doesn’t matter whether he has had injuries or not.

“But Michael is a player who is capable of proving his worth with us.”

Devlin has amassed nearly 150 appearances for Hamilton having made his debut at just 17. He insists there was no need for a big sell from McInnes as Aberdeen offer the opportunity to win trophies.

He hopes to be fit within the next month or so and as he is not cup tied due to the long injury absence, landing the Scottish Cup this season is the immediate target.

He said: “I started playing football to get the opportunity to play in cup finals, win trophies and compete at the top of the league.

“I can achieve those things at Aberdeen so I am delighted to come in and aim to contribute to that.

“The manager spoke to me and said he had big plans for both myself and the club if we could make it happen.

“He didn’t have to do much to convince me as soon as I knew there was interest I was hugely excited about the prospect of coming to Aberdeen. He was really encouraging and positive and at this stage in my career it is a fantastic move.”

Devlin has been out injured for eight months and will work hard on his rehab at Pittodrie.

He said: “Hopefully I will be ready to go in February-March, that is the estimate.

“I have had a good chat with the medical staff here and am really confident they will get me back in good shape and ready to play for the club. I am really eager to get started and work hard to get myself back on the pitch”.

Meanwhile, the Dons will today hope to bounce back from the disappointment of a 2-0 loss to Rangers when they host Kilmarnock today.

It was the third time the Reds have lost to the Ibrox club this season.

McInnes said: “We were disappointed with the result at Rangers as we didn’t pass the ball well enough in the first half and we allowed too many crosses into the box.

“We lost a poor first goal as we could have defended the cross better and the penalty for the second goal was avoidable. We were also guilty of missing chances. We see it is a missed opportunity.

“I said before the game that whether we won, drew or lost it wasn’t going to decide anything.

“There is no doubt we are disappointed but we still have plenty of the season to look forward to.

“We have 15 league games and a cup to try to do as well as we can in so the motivation will still be there.

“We all have to show we can bounce back.​

“We are the last team to beat Kilmarnock and they were in decent form going into that.

“Kilmarnock’s players are in a system that suits them and have real confidence.

“So we have a difficult challenge today, but the intention is to win.”

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