Keeper Joe Lewis today confirmed he would be happy to play at Aberdeen for the rest of his career – which he hopes will extend long beyond his five-year extension.
Lewis has signed a new deal tying him to the club until summer 2024.
The 31-year-old’s long-term commitment was a major coup for the Dons in light of the expected departures of skipper Graeme Shinnie and winger Gary Mackay-Steven.
Both are out of contract at the end of the season, have yet to commit to the Reds and are being targeted by other clubs.
Lewis, however, underlined his commitment and also confirmed he would ideally call time on his career with Aberdeen – years beyond the expiration of his new deal, until mid 2024.
Asked if he could potentially play the rest of his career with Aberdeen, Lewis said: “Yes, I think so. This new deal would take me up to 36.
“Hopefully, all being well injury-wise, I can keep going for a few years after that as well.
“I feel like I have a lot still left in my career.
“You never know what is round the corner but there is no reason why not.
“I would be more than happy to do that, but obviously a lot of things can change within a short space of time within any job, football especially.”
Arguably the best and most consistent keeper in Scottish football, Lewis insists extending his time at Pittodrie was an easy decision both on and off the pitch.
He said: “I was more than happy to commit to Aberdeen as it is a club that has been really good to me.
“The manager, his staff, all the lads, the supporters, the directors and chairman – the whole club has been so supportive towards me.
“My family are also very settled here so given all the factors I was more than happy to commit. It was a good time and the contract didn’t take long to negotiate.”
Lewis will make his 135th start for Aberdeen tomorrow when facing league leaders Celtic.
The Hoops need just a point to secure an eighth successive league crown, but Lewis is determined to put their champagne celebrations on ice.
The only party he wants is for the Dons supporters celebrating a win over Celtic that would take them closer to securing third spot and European qualification.
Lewis said: “It looks like it (Celtic securing the title) is going to happen at some stage.
“I don’t want to see them jumping around and celebrating on Saturday. I want to see them on the back of us winning the game and us celebrating a victory.
“The cameras will be there as it is possible for them to win the title and people will be looking to see what happens.
“But hopefully we can get the win. It will be a tough game obviously, but we are hopeful we can get the three points.”
Aberdeen will try to delay Celtic’s title with an injury-ravaged squad that is heavily depleted in the wide areas and also in creativity.
Wingers Niall McGinn, Connor McLennan and Gary Mackay-Steven are out and Greg Stewart is struggling with a hip complaint.
Captain Graeme Shinnie is ruled out injured. Defender Andy Considine is also suspended.
“We are thin on the ground with injuries, but that just gives opportunities to people who will come in,” said Lewis.
“Whether that be young lads or ones who will try to showcase themselves and give the manager something to think about going forward. We will have a game plan and try to execute that.”
Lewis suffered an injury scare in the 2-0 loss to Rangers when Jermain Defoe poleaxed him when leading with his arm which smacked into the keeper’s face.
Despite suffering “some wobbly teeth and a sore nose” Lewis carried on in the match.
He said: “There were no side effects, just some wobbly teeth and a sore nose.
“I am fine. It is part of the job and I have had it twice in the last few games.
“There was no damage done, or serious harm done to anyone.
“It is part of the job.”
Referee Don Robertson saw the incident, but only awarded a free-kick against Defoe.
A spokesman for the SFA confirmed compliance officer Clare Whyte decided no retrospective action was required against Defoe.
Lewis was diplomatic on whether there was any frustration that there was no booking for Defoe and has moved on from the incident.
He said: “On that isolated incident, sometimes a player will get punished, sometimes he won’t.
“It is just down to the referee and what he saw at the time.
“He (Don Robertson) said to me that he didn’t see anything wrong with the challenge. It was his thought that it was a coming together.
“I respect the referee’s decision and we move on.
“I am not going to dwell on something which is relatively minor from my point of view.
“I just focus on trying to get the three points tomorrow and keeping the ball out the net.”