McInnes wouldn’t change a thing about his banned Aberdeen skipper Shinnie

Graeme Shinnie, left, in action.

Dons boss Derek McInnes accepts Graeme Shinnie’s style will land him suspensions – but wouldn’t change a thing about his skipper.

Captain Shinnie is suspended for Sunday’s Pittodrie showdown against Premiership leaders Celtic.

The 26-year-old midfielder served the first of a two-game ban in the recent 2-0 loss at Hibs.

McInnes revealed missing a double header so vital to the Reds’ Premiership campaign “kills” his club captain.

With 13 yellow cards Shinnie is the most booked player in the Premiership this season.

McInnes said: “It is frustrating for Graeme and us and it kills him when he cannot play.

“The suspensions are a consequence of the bookings Graeme has had and we are disappointed.

“He makes tackles, he makes contact and sometimes it is down to interpretation by the referees what is deemed a booking and what isn’t.

“I think he has been harshly treated but Graeme also has to take a wee bit of responsibility for that as well.

“However, I wouldn’t change him.”

The leadership and drive of Shinnie were sorely absent in Edinburgh at the weekend as Aberdeen were over-run by Hibs in the second half.

The Dons will also be without on-loan Celtic attacker Ryan Christie against the defending champions on Sunday.

Scotland international Christie cannot face his parent club due to the terms of his loan deal which runs until the end of the season.

McInnes has challenged those who come in as the two absentees’ replacements to step up to the mark in a game that is pivotal to the Reds’ league campaign.

Brendan Rodgers’ Hoops are nine points ahead of Aberdeen who trail second-placed Rangers on goal difference.

In-form Hibs are lurking not far behind, only five points adrift of Aberdeen.

McInnes said: “We have gone into a lot of the bigger games this season without a lot of our key players.

“We have a squad to cope and we have to adapt to not having those players with us.

“Whoever plays on Sunday we want to see an improvement in performance from the one against Hibs.”

Aberdeen have lost nine straight games to Celtic in all competitions.

Two defeats have been inflicted by the Hoops already this season with a 3-0 reverse at Pittodrie in October followed by the same scoreline in Glasgow two months later.

That loss to Celtic at home was one of only three games in the Granite City out of 17 in all competitions the Reds have lost this season.

Since the return from the winter break Aberdeen have a 100% home record having won all four matches.

They have hit 14 goals in beating St Mirren (4-1), Kilmarnock (3-1), Hamilton (3-0) and Dundee United (4-2).

McInnes is determined to keep that winning streak going against a Celtic team who will pitch up in the Granite City less than 72 hours after a Europa League away tie.

Celtic will tonight face Zenit St Petersburg in a last-32 second round encounter in Russia.

The Hoops hold a 1-0 advantage from the first leg in Glasgow.

McInnes said: “I have been really pleased with the home form since I came here.

“I remember saying when I first came into the club that we need to enjoy playing at home again.

“We have to make sure that we expect to win at home. By and large our performances at Pittodrie have been good this season.

“Our home form is very important to us.”