Pittodrie legend Stewart McKimmie has returned to Aberdeen more than 20 years after leaving the club he led to League Cup glory.
A nine-time trophy winner with the Reds, the 55-year-old former club captain has been tasked with sourcing the next generation of Aberdeen stars.
Former Scotland international right-back McKimmie has taken on the role of the Dons’ scout for Aberdeen North.
Capped 40 times by his country, the two-time Premier League winner is the latest addition to Aberdeen’s growing scouting network to ensure no emerging talent slips through the net.
Aberdeen again have a presence in Glasgow and Edinburgh having appointed two scouts for the areas.
Four years ago the Reds closed their Glasgow and Edinburgh Academies.
A European Super Cup winner with the Dons, club legend McKimmie is one of 14 scouts operating in the North-east of Scotland.
A further two operate in Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.
Aberdeen are on the lookout for a new scout for Aberdeen South.
Aberdeen FC head of academy recruitment Jim Fraser said: “It is great to have the club’s former captain Stewart McKimmie back involved at Aberdeen.
“Stewart feels he wants to give something back.
“He is someone who has 40 caps for Scotland, and Stewart is going to watch games from teams at age groups such as 2009 and 2010.
“Stewart is involved in grading players and going out Saturdays and Sundays and through the weeks.”
Aberdonian McKimmie was signed for the Dons by Alex Ferguson from Dundee in 1983 and went on to make 561 appearances.
He captained Aberdeen to the League Cup in 1995, with a 2-0 defeat of Dundee at Hampden. Fourth in Aberdeen’s all-time appearance list, McKimmie also won the Scottish Cup three times.
Fraser said: “Stewart has his boys’ clubs and has got to know all the players from the age of six right the way through to 18 at these clubs.
“He has got to know all the managers and links well with them – and he is absolutely loving the role.”
Aberdeen’s scouting network has expanded in recent years.
It is all geared towards sourcing, developing and producing the next Dons star in the mould of Scott McKenna.
The 21-year-old Pittodrie youth system graduate was hailed as “amazing” by national boss Alex McLeish this week after earning his debut Scotland caps, both starts against Hungary and Costa Rica. Aberdeen rejected an approach in excess of £1 million from Hull City for McKenna in January.
Fraser said: “We are now sitting at 14 scouts in the Grampian Region and Angus.
“We wanted to give the opportunity for the boys in our region to come and play for Aberdeen football club.
“We need to really focus our attentions on that area.
“We have ambassadors in certain regions – Moray, Banff and Buchan, Garioch and South Aberdeenshire.
“We believe there are fantastic coaches out there at the boys clubs in Aberdeen and the North-east.
“We have scouts linking up with everybody such as boys clubs and the juvenile association – we are trying to get the best.”
Two Aberdeen youth academy graduates started for Scotland in the 1-0 defeat of Hungary in Budapest.
Alongside McKenna, former Dons winger Ryan Fraser, now at Premier League side Bournemouth, also earned his first cap.
“On top of the 14 scouts in the Grampian Region and Angus we have two in the south of Scotland as well as another two in Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland,” explained Fraser.
“For example, we have a goalkeeping scout in Dean Lawson, a former Elgin keeper.
“We have former Peterhead, Cove Rangers and Buckie Thistle manager Davie Watson involved in scouting.
“There is also somone like Rob McRobb, a former captain of the Scotland World Cup U21s. ”
Aberdeen scouts constantly run the rule over talented young players at 4s, Soccer 7s, primary schools, secondary schools and both junior and senior level juvenile clubs.
Aberdeen have also returned to the central belt with scouts operating in Glasgow and Edinburgh.
Fraser said: “We recently employed two new scouts to cover Edinburgh and Fife and Glasgow and Strathclyde to look at the 16-18 age groups.
“So we now cover the whole of Scotland.”
To bolster that search for talent the Reds have a vacancy for a permanent, part time lead scout – Aberdeen City (south).
Anyone interested in the post should submit their cv and covering letter to firstname.lastname@example.org by April 20.