Niall McGinn believes the recent Premiership runners-up finish tops the previous three seasons where the Dons claimed second.
Aberdeen finished runners-up to Celtic for a fourth straight season the hard way: by ending the champions’ two-year domestic unbeaten record in a high-pressure final game of the league campaign.
That 1-0 victory at Parkhead ensured the Reds triumphed in a tense battle to finish runners-up that had included Rangers and Hibs.
Reward for finishing best of the rest behind treble-winning Celtic yet again was an extra £320,000 in SPFL payments.
It is a cash boost that will be important in what will be a busy summer in the transfer market for manager Derek McInnes, with nine players exiting Pittodrie at the end of the campaign.
The runners-up finish also ensures McInnes will have more breathing space to strengthen the squad, as the Reds will enter the Europa League at the second qualifying round stage on Thursday July 26.
Winger McGinn said: “Finishing second this time, out of all the seasons, is definitely the best achievement regarding the league – 100 percent Especially when you consider how strong the league was this season.
“There was Rangers and Hibs came in and were very, very strong. Hibs came back into the league and were brilliant.
“They were right up there challenging. Hibs play nice football, always create opportunities and are a difficult side to break down.
“Kilmarnock did very well and Hearts were also good.
“We were fighting it out with Rangers and Hibs for second so finishing above those two is a massive achievement.”
McGinn missed the last three games of the season with a groin injury. That injury ruled him out of selection for Northern Ireland’s upcoming friendlies in South America.
Michael O’Neill’s side face Panama on May 30 before Costa Rica on June 3.
This time last year McGinn had rejected the offer of a new Dons deal before eventually moving to South Korean side Gwangju. His contract was terminated by mutual consent at the end of the year.
That opened the way for a Pittodrie return with McGinn rejoining the Dons on a three-and-a-half year contract in January. He played a key role in the Reds’ campaign.
For McGinn, a welcome by-product of finishing runners-up is a later European entry for the Dons – and extended summer break.
As Premiership runners-up Aberdeen were initially scheduled to enter the Europa League at the first qualifying round stage on July 12.
However, they progressed into the second qualifying round two weeks later when Celtic won the Scottish Cup.
There is no European spot for the beaten Scottish Cup finalists so that spot goes to the league runners-up.
Aberdeen will discover their Euro opponents at the draw at the Uefa headquarters in Nyon, Switzerland, on Wednesday June 20.
McGinn said: “You don’t think about it when the season is going on but finishing second can also get you that longer summer break.
“It is a break the players definitely deserve and one we have not had in a long time.”
In previous seasons Aberdeen had a runners-up finish wrapped up early in the post-split fixtures. This time it went to the final game of the season and the Reds had to go undefeated in the post-split games for the first time under McInnes to secure second spot.
McGinn said: “It brings the best out of everybody.
“When it came to the post-split fixtures, in some seasons we have maybe been comfortable but this year we had to slug it out until the end. We had something to play for, which is even better for us as players.
“We have that second place to play for and to get into Europe, which was great.
“You have the likes of myself and other players who have been here for a long time we have been involved in these big games over the years.
“You enjoy playing in games like that and it comes naturally to be motivated for them.
“We know ourselves that, on the day, we are more than a match for anyone.”