As an Aberdeen fan Paul Coutts is sad to see Graeme Shinnie leave – but he’s backing the Dons captain to be a big hit in England.
The Reds skipper is joining Derby County this summer on a three-year contract.
The Rams could be in the Premier League if they can overcome a 1-0 deficit in tonight’s play-off semi-final second leg against Leeds and then win the final at Wembley.
Coutts, who played for the Pride Park outfit from 2012 until January 2015, believes regardless of what league Derby are in next term Shinnie will be a good addition.
He said: “I’m sure Graeme will do very well at Derby next season.
“As an Aberdeen fan I’m obviously disappointed to see him go.
“But having watched him over the last few seasons I think he’ll be a great addition to their squad.
“I remember speaking about Kenny McLean going to Norwich last season and how it could take a little bit of time to adjust to the Championship.
“That may be the case with Graeme as well because it can take time.
“But Graeme has all the attributes to do really well in the league.
“He’s good on the ball, he’s got great energy and tenacity and can play a number of positions so I’m sure he’ll do really well.
“I think the way he has led Aberdeen as a club as captain in the last couple of seasons has been really good.
“I’m sure he’ll be disappointed not to have lifted any silverware in his time as captain.
“But he has done excellently and can be proud of his time at the club.
“He thinks it’s time for a new challenge and he feels the next step is down south.
“He’s joining a great club and it will be a big challenge for him at Derby.
“I think players hit their top form around 27, 28 and 29 so Derby may see the best of him.
“That will be great for them having seen what he’s done at Aberdeen and if that happens Derby are getting one hell of a player.
“He’s done well at Aberdeen and if he can improve on that he will be a great signing.”
Coutts, who has also had spells with Peterborough, Preston and Sheffield United after leaving Cove Rangers in 2008, has been impressed with the job Frank Lampard has done as manager of his former club.
He added: “I still speak to a few guys at Derby and they’ve got good things to say about Frank as a manager.
“He’s done a decent job. They have been hit with financial fair play a little bit from previous seasons and haven’t spent as much as some.
“I think at the start of the season they would have taken being in the play-offs because it gives anybody a chance of going up.”
After four years at Pittodrie Shinnie will be looking to take England by storm, just as one of his former team-mates has done.
Midfielder McLean has been a key player for Norwich City as they won the Championship and gained promotion.
An ankle ligament injury restricted the Scotland international’s playing time during the first half of the campaign, but in the second half of the season he’s been a regular for the Canaries. Coutts, who helped Sheffield United also achieve automatic promotion, has admired the way McLean has performed in the Championship.
He said: “I’ve been very impressed with Kenny McLean, he’s done really well at Norwich.
“They’ve been promoted as well which is great for them.
“Kenny got an injury quite early which hampered him in the first half of the season. But once he came back I was really impressed that he managed to break into a Norwich side that was winning every week.
“I was in a similar position at Sheffield United and I know it’s not easy to get into a side at the top of the league that’s winning every week.
“Kenny managed to do that so all credit to him because he’s been excellent.”