Dons winger Jonny Hayes today thanked boss Derek McInnes for helping him move a step closer to fulfilling his Euro dream.
Hayes admitted his confidence is flying after claiming his first two caps for the Republic of Ireland.
Featuring in the friendly clashes against Switzerland and Slovakia has also put Hayes in the frame to make their squad for this summer’s Euro finals in France.
Hayes revealed he was so convinced he had no hope of going he had already booked a family holiday at the same time.
Humble Hayes is firmly in contention now.
But the 28-year-old Dubliner believes it would never have happened if club boss McInnes hadn’t constantly told him he was actually good enough to play for his country.
Hayes said: “I’m very grateful that the gaffer kept nipping away at me.
“Every player dreams about playing at a Euro finals but I never really saw it as a realistic target for me.
“There are a host of top players fighting for positions.
“I had never been involved, I thought I was so far out of the picture there was no point even thinking about it.
“It’s why I booked the holiday to Portugal.
“We will only have a short break before we report back to prepare for next season and I was sure I would be watching the finals on the telly.
“The gaffer never gave up hope, though.
“He kept telling me I was good enough and if I proved it by doing well for Aberdeen I would get a chance.
“He’s been on at me probably every second day in the last year or so, maybe even longer.
“When I signed my last contract he said he was sure I would go from that to also play for Ireland.
“I fobbed it all off because I didn’t have the same belief.
“But he kept going on and on about it and I’m glad the gaffer was eventually proved right.
“Getting my first cap was a brilliant feeling. I was happy to just make the squad. But to actually play in both games was unbelievable.
“Once you get a taste of it you want more.”