Dons boss Derek McInnes has challenged Scotland defender Scott McKenna to reproduce his red-hot form next season.
Centre-back McKenna is set to secure a fourth cap in the early hours of tomorrow (1am) when Alex McLeish’s Scots face World Cup-bound Mexico at the 87,000 sell-out Azteca stadium.
The game will call time on a sensational breakthrough season where McKenna was named Aberdeen Player of the Year and forced his way into the Scotland starting line-up.
Aberdeen also rejected four bids from Hull City for McKenna in January, with the final in excess of £1 million.
McInnes warned there can be no let-up by McKenna.
He said: “People will be looking at Scott next season and there will be a bit more of a spotlight on him to replicate what he has done.
“That is the challenge.
“Scott had a great season and the good thing from my point of view is that he is still young and there is still a lot for him to learn.
“He will only get even better.
“There is a lot for Scott still to learn and achieve with Aberdeen.”
The Mexico game will be McKenna’s final action of a remarkable season that also saw him pick up Aberdeen’s Young Player of the Year award and the Reds goal of the season gong for a 40-yard wonder strike in the 3-1 defeat of Kilmarnock in January.
That strike also secured the SPFL Goal of the Season award earlier this week.
McKenna’s form saw national boss McLeish handing him not just a debut cap but a shock start in his first game in charge of the Scots.
The Pittodrie centre-back impressed in the 1-0 loss to Costa Rica at Hampden in March and has started the subsequent two games.
McInnes said: “I am sure Alex McLeish now sees Scott as an important part of his squad.
“Scott can get valuable experience through international football but he can also get that with us with a lot of highly competitive games such as European football.”
Aberdeen skipper Graeme Shinnie is in contention to start in Mexico City.
The 26-year-old earned a debut cap in the 2-0 loss to Peru in Lima on Wednesday morning.
Former Aberdeen loan star Ryan Christie, who will return to parent club Celtic in the summer, is also set to start at the Azteca.
Ex-Dons midfielder Kenny McLean, who will return to Norwich City after a loan spell, is also in contention to face Mexico.
Meanwhile, Anthony O’Connor’s Aberdeen career appears to be over.
The Evening Express understands that the Irishman is in talks with an English club and they are progressing well.
It is believed O’Connor could sign for the side early next week.
The 25-year-old is a free agent after his contract at Pittodrie expired on Thursday.
The Evening Express revealed on May 22 that the Dons had yet to make O’Connor a formal contract offer despite lengthy discussions, and that remains the case.
It was also revealed the former Burton Albion man did not see the Granite City as the best place to further his career.
O’Connor is considering his options and is believed to favour a move to the English Championship, but would also consider clubs in League One in England.
O’Connor arrived at Aberdeen from Burton in the summer of 2016.
In his first season he made 42 appearances and helped the Reds finish second in the Premiership and reach both cup finals.
In the recently- concluded season he played 49 games as the Dons finished second in the league for the fourth year in a row.
O’Connor’s last appearance for Aberdeen was on the final day of the Premiership season when they beat Celtic 1-0 at Parkhead to end a run of 25 visits to the venue without a victory.