Boss Derek McInnes today insisted Scotland cap Scott McKenna will be at Pittodrie for the long haul.
McKenna’s star continues to rise after impressing for Scotland in recent friendlies.
The 21-year-old made his international debut in the 1-0 loss to Costa Rica and was hailed as “amazing” by national boss Alex McLeish after retaining his starting slot for the 1-0 defeat of Hungary.
Aberdeen rejected four approaches from Hull City for McKenna in January with the final move in excess of £1 million.
With McKenna one of the Premiership’s hottest stars, Aberdeen could be braced for interest from other teams during the summer transfer window.
However, McInnes is confident McKenna, who recently signed a long-term deal until 2023, will be at Pittodrie for years to come.
McInnes, who will lead the Reds against St Johnstone today, said: “Long term, Scott and I both see him being at Aberdeen as the right thing.
“Scott’s profile has been elevated on the back of the last couple of international games.
“He has had a lot of exposure, recognition and plaudits in those games.
“Other people’s perceptions of Scott may be different but for us the plan is still for him to keep learning and doing the yards, doing the game time.
“And for Scott to be a big, big player for us over the next few years.”
McKenna was pitched in from the start for his international debut against Costa Rica in McLeish’s first game as Scotland manager.
The Dons centre-back played himself into contention for the UEFA Nations League and Euro 2020 qualifying campaign.
“Scott has dealt with the Scotland challenge the same way he dealt with playing for us,” said McInnes.
“I am delighted that Alex gave him the opportunity to go and show what he was capable of.
“I spoke to Alex before and said to him Scott would relish anything that is put to him and deal with it.
“That is a great thing to have.
“Scott plays the game like a very experienced player – very unfussy and does the job.
“It was great to see him dealing with that situation so well.
“For someone so young to be so comfortable says everything about his temperament.”
Aberdeen had three players on the pitch for Scotland in the latter stages in Hungary – McKenna, Kenny McLean and Ryan Christie.
McInnes said: “It was brilliant to have three players involved and there was a lot of pride with everyone connected with the club and the supporters will be the same.”
Aberdeen were today set to return to league action after the international break with a home clash against St Johnstone.
The Reds are two points behind second- placed Rangers but hold a game in hand, at Motherwell on Tuesday.
McInnes said: “We have tough opponents coming in St Johnstone, Motherwell, Hearts and then the top five.
“These are exactly the kind of games we want.
“We need games to be meaningful, especially at this stage of the season.
“All the games have something on them and we also have the Scottish Cup semi-final to look forward to.”
Saints are seventh in the table but are three games unbeaten.
McInnes, a former St Johnstone boss, said: “We are keen to get the three points against a team that have picked up recently.
“St Johnstone have good players and I have worked with a lot of them – and signed some of them.
“I know how good and motivated they are.
“If they are not in the top six they will be the best team in the bottom six.”