Aberdeen: Boss Derek McInnes tips his side for a successful 2018

Derek McInnes
Derek McInnes stayed with Aberdeen despite approaches from Sunderland and Rangers

Derek McInnes expects Aberdeen to enjoy a strong finish to the season after enduring some difficult moments in the first half of the campaign.

After losing five first-team players in the summer, manager McInnes turned down approaches from Sunderland and Rangers.

But the return of winger Niall McGinn is one of a number of reasons why McInnes is excited about the future.

"I'm confident we're set up well for the second half of the campaign," he said after the 0-0 draw with Hearts.

"Today was the kind of game that McGinn would have been really important to us - unlocking a tight defence and bringing that bit of quality.

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Highlights: Aberdeen 0-0 Hearts

"We've got that to look forward to, but we also have the lads we signed in the summer up to speed, more aware of the demands of this club. I think they'll be better for it.

"We're all looking forward to the break and being able to switch off mentally and physically, and hopefully we can do something similar to last season when we hit the second part of the campaign like a train.

"The break can give you that opportunity to re-energise and do that."

Winger McGinn, 30, enjoyed a successful five-year stint at Pittodrie before moving to South Korean side Gwangju in June this year.

He was courted by a number of clubs but decided on a return to the Dons, signing a three-and-a-half year deal.

Niall McGinn
Niall McGinn was paraded at Pittodrie on Saturday ahead of the draw with Hearts

"When a player of the quality of McGinn becomes available then you have to try to do something, and if a player of that quality becomes available in another position then we might try to do something similar," McInnes added.

Aberdeen, who have finished runners-up to Celtic in the Premiership for three successive seasons, go into the winter break eight points adrift of the champions and three points clear of third-placed Rangers.

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