Aberdeen midfield battler Dom Ball says “of course” he’d like to stay at Pittodrie longer than next summer after Wednesday’s brilliant win over Rangers.
Ball, 23, was in centre midfield at Ibrox alongside skipper Graeme Shinnie and Lewis Ferguson as the Dons ran out 1-0 winners.
A second win on the spin against the Light Blues – after another 1-0 win in the Betfred Cup semi-final at Hampden – was made more impressive with the Dons down to 10 men for most of the evening.
Sam Cosgrove was dismissed in the 33rd minute, receiving a questionable second yellow after Scott McKenna had fired Derek McInnes’ visitors in front.
However, the supreme grit of the hard-tackling and direct Ball and his team-mates saw Aberdeen restrict the frustrated Gers to just a couple of chances before they had Alfredo Morelos sent off for catching Shinnie with an arm.
A delighted Ball said: “Of course (I fancy staying on for longer than this season).
“I really do like it here. It’s why I came back and we’ll see what happens.
“I can’t say what’s going to happen in the future, but I’m focused on the seven games before the winter break.”
Aberdeen have seven more Premiership fixtures this month as they look to climb the table from their current position of sixth.
On-loan Rotherham utility man Ball, in the final year of his deal with the Yorkshire side after also spending last season at Pittodrie, thinks the “amazing” nature of the win over Rangers will boost the Reds for the busy period to come.
It was also a tonic after the narrow 1-0 Betfred Cup final loss to Celtic at the national stadium on Sunday.
Ball said: “It’s amazing. Sometimes it’s not all pretty football and Wednesday was an example of not pretty football.
“Going out there, down to 10 men with half an hour gone and having to defend being 1-0 up.
“I think we did it amazingly.
“Of course (it was brilliant to score early on).
“We didn’t go there to defend, but with the circumstances of Cosgrove getting sent off we had to.
“We were a player down and with the quality of some of the Rangers players we had to sit off and it worked in our favour.”
Big striker Cosgrove’s second red card for the Dons came after he raised a foot in the corner of the Rangers half to nick the ball away from Connor Goldson.
It was a naive, unnecessary challenge, but referee Steven McLean was wrong to deem it a bookable offence.
On Aberdeen’s ability to take the setback in their stride and bring a bit of bite to proceedings when needed, Ball said: “I haven’t seen it, but from what I’ve heard maybe it isn’t a sending off.
“The team had been together for four days since the Celtic game.
“We stayed down together and took a lot of confidence from the Celtic game in defence, possession as well.
“There was a feeling we were going to get a result on Wednesday. With the team spirit we’ve got, everyone dug in and we’ve added that little bit of nastiness and grit we didn’t have and it’s starting to pay off.”
Aberdeen’s next five games against St Johnstone on Saturday (home), then Livingston (home), St Mirren (away), Dundee (home) and Hearts (home) look very winnable and a great opportunity to continue to build momentum ahead of Celtic’s visit on Boxing Day.
Ball thinks they need to be ready to battle in the same way as their performances against Celtic and Rangers in the last week.
He said: “Our preparation and our mindset towards the games cannot change.
“Going into the Celtic and Rangers games away from home, it’s been good as individuals and as a team and unit.
“That has to stay same, whether we’re at home or whoever we’re playing – we have to get results.
“In the seven games coming up we have to get maximum points after dropping a few sloppy ones previously.”