After a debut season of injury hell Craig Bryson has vowed to silence social media critics who claim he joined Aberdeen to pick up a wage.
Suffering with an ankle injury, Bryson bust a gut to get fit only to be confronted by posts on Twitter that he was “injury prone” and using Aberdeen as a “retirement package”.
Former Derby star Bryson today hit out at those cyber critics, insisting he has never been injury prone and could have landed a far more lucrative deal if he had stayed in England.
The 33-year-old believes the best way to silence the snipers is by excelling on the pitch this season.
That begins today as Bryson is back to full fitness and ready to face Rangers in the Premiership opener at Pittodrie (12.30pm).
He said: “I had an ankle injury. It was terrible and that’s the side of it the fans don’t see.
“Obviously the gaffer, the other players and your family see it day in, day out, what you are going through. They see how you are trying everything.
“For my sins I have Twitter, so I have seen the comments about only being here to pick up a wage or get a retirement package.
“None of them know me personally, what I am going through, what my family sees and how much it is actually hurting me that I can’t be out training and playing.
“I have seen things saying I’m injury prone, but I have played over 500 games in my career.
“I think that says I’m not injury prone – I just picked up an injury at Aberdeen and couldn’t get it fixed as quickly as we wanted it to be.
“I had opportunities to stay down south which if I had gone down that route would financially have been a lot better for me.
“However, I looked at the club when I was down south, saw them in semi-finals and finals, playing in Europe – and I wanted to be part of that.
“I wanted to come up here and play as many games as I could.
“You have to prove people wrong every game and I know I’m going to have to have a good season to get some fans back on side.”
Bryson signed on at Pittodrie last summer still recuperating from an ankle injury suffered at the end of the season with former club Derby.
After recovering he suffered the misfortune of injuring his other ankle against St Johnstone in November.
He was restricted to just seven starts and five substitute appearances last season.
In 17 years as a professional since making his debut as a teenager for Clyde, last season was the first Bryson has not made 20 appearances or more.
He admits watching from the sidelines was torture – and he did begin to fear if “this was the end”.
Bryson said: “This is something I have been doing since five or six years old and professionally since 16.
“You start to think you may not get a solution and start looking at other things.
“You do wonder what’s going to happen if you can’t get back? Is this the end?
“That’s hard to come to terms with sometimes, but thankfully I was able to do everything right.
“When you are sitting watching from the stands it is hard.
“Then going to do rehab in the gym with the physios while the lads have been out training every day. But now I feel the best since I moved here.”
Bryson underwent surgery on ankle ligaments in January, but started one game before the Premiership shutdown in March, a 4-3 Scottish Cup win at Kilmarnock the previous month.
He admits to pushing himself too hard, too soon to get back to action – mainly through professional pride.
He said: “I was too proud. I don’t like saying embarrassed, but when you are out injured and not contributing that’s kind of how you feel.
“I did come back too quickly at times, but I didn’t ever think of saying no.
“Now I am going into training sessions without worrying.
“I can get my head around training and playing rather than worrying about my body.”