Former Aberdeen and Caley Thistle captain Graeme Shinnie is determined to help keep Derby County in the Championship as they face a must-win final-day clash with Sheffield Wednesday.
Victory for the struggling Rams will be enough to keep them up, with Wayne Rooney’s side currently sitting one place and two points above the relegation zone.
However, a win for Wednesday would see them leapfrog Derby and dump them into the drop-zone. A draw may not even be enough for Shinnie’s side – should Rotherham win at Cardiff City they would go above Derby by virtue of a better goal-difference.
It is a situation Shinnie, who left Aberdeen for Derby in 2019, has not experienced before but is one he is keen to lift his side out of.
He told RamsTV: “It’s the last game of the season and we know what needs to be done. It’s almost like a cup final and we’re looking forward to it.
“It’s a strange one; we’re very fortunate to still be in this position but on the flipside, if we’d picked up even one win from those games we’d be looking at safety. What’s done is done, we can’t deal with the past. This game is the big game so the full focus on that.
“I’ve never experienced that – I’ve had numerous cup finals in Scotland with Aberdeen and Inverness but this is a different scenario.
“We’re at home and we need to win the game. I’m still confident in the team that we can go and do it.
“I’ve been saying it on numerous occasions in the last few weeks that we know what we need to do but we haven’t been doing it on the pitch.”
Shinnie, who has six caps for Scotland, has been perplexed by the Rams recent run of form. They have lost their last six games, which has plummeted them into the heart of a relegation fight.
He added: “It’s been massively frustrating and hard to pin-point why we’re losing sloppy goals. The Swansea game, going 1-0 up, we felt very confident we’d hold on. Then we lose two goals in three minutes then lose the game.
“It’s bizarre – it’s the position we find ourselves in at the moment. Things haven’t been going right for us but Saturday we have to change that. We can’t lose.”
Wednesday know too it is win-or-bust for them if they want to stay up, with Shinnie aware they will bring the game to Derby.
He said: “You would expect it in this sort of game but I would expect us, being the home team, to come out fighting on the front foot as well.
“Our focus is on us and what we can do. We know if we can play well, we can win the game.”
Shinnie, who hails from the Cove area of Aberdeen, started his career with Caley Thistle and won the Scottish Cup with them in 2015.
He left that summer for the Dons and made 187 appearances in four seasons, helping the club to reach three cup finals and three second-place finishes.