Dons boss Derek McInnes today claimed he couldn’t be cautious with Niall McGinn’s rehabilitation any more – and had to let him loose from the start against Kilmarnock.
The Northern Ireland international underwent hernia surgery early last month and has been working his way back to full fitness.
McGinn returned to the Dons on a long-term deal until 2021 during the winter window.
He had been working with the club physios during the training camp in Dubai.
He made substitute appearances against St Mirren and Rangers before his first start in the 3-1 win over Killie.
McInnes had been advised to be cautious with McGinn’s return but reckons he had held him back long enough.
It paid off as McGinn netted a superb solo goal to cap off an impressive shift.
McInnes said: “We had been trying to be cautious with Niall and people were telling me he had not started a game for months.
“We were trying to work him up to speed but you can only hold back someone of that quality for so long.
“We said to Niall just give us everything you have got.
“However, he could still be running long after the game which is a credit to Niall.”
McGinn was utilised in a wide position in the first half.
But, with the Reds trailing 1-0 at half-time, McInnes shifted the 30-year-old into a central role.
It paid off as McGinn was instrumental in the game turning.
McInnes said: “Like all good players Niall can find space.
“He finds that space to go and operate whether it is behind a defence or in wider areas. His delivery for McKenna’s header at the equalising goal was excellent.
“We have missed that.”
McGinn was the first of three January transfer window additions by Aberdeen this month.
Manchester City midfielder Chidiebere Nwakali was secured on loan until the summer.
The 21-year-old Nigerian made his debut as a substitute against Killie after a work permit and international clearance were processed.
Hamilton centre-back Michael Devlin was also signed on a three-and-a-half year deal until summer 2021. Devlin is battling back from cruciate ligament injury and is set to return in March.
Dons boss McInnes also hopes to secure a keeper before the transfer window closes at midnight tomorrow.
No1 Joe Lewis is set to undergo surgery this week on knee cartilage damage sustained in the 2-0 loss at Rangers.
Aberdeen have been linked with a loan move for Newcastle United keeper Freddie Woodman. The 20-year-old is third choice at St James’ Park but won the U20 World Cup with England last year.
Aberdeen travel to Ross County tomorrow with Ryan Christie expected to return from a knee injury that ruled him out of the win over Killie.