Inverness hopeful of beating Aberdeen to Jonny Hayes deal

Hayes is consoled by Butcher after being sent off against Kilmarnock
Hayes is consoled by Butcher after being sent off against Kilmarnock

Inverness Caley Thistle manager Terry Butcher remains hopeful of retaining winger Jonny Hayes despite confirmed interest from Aberdeen.

Dons boss Craig Brown claims positive vibes from the 24-year-old's agent.

But Butcher said: "We have certainly spoken to his agent. He knows our position and what we're about.

"Perhaps there is unfinished business here he feels he needs to conclude before he moves away, which we would be delighted to accommodate."

Hayes, whose contract expires at the end of the season, has scored eight goals this season despite missing two months with a shoulder injury.

Caley Thistle have put contract talks on hold until they are assured of avoiding relegation and could secure their place with at least a point against Dunfermline on Wednesday, when Hayes will be missing through suspension.

"I spoke with Jonny about that and Jonny is fine," said Butcher, who defended the player after his sending off in Saturday's 4-3 defeat by Kilmarnock.

"He is very much focused on the last two games he can play.

"I must say Craig Brown has been very dignified and courteous by speaking to me first and telling me his intentions.

"I don't think other mangers and agents are quite as dignified as Craig, but that's football.

"We will certainly make our offer and we definitely want Jonny to stay.

"He's our vice-captain and we're not just looking at one year, we're looking at two years if we can.

"Jonny is settled here and enjoys it here. There are always clubs who can pay a bit more, we are well aware of that.

"But he has had three great years here and is very popular with the fans and players and staff."

Brown fears that the Dons and other Scottish Premier League clubs interested in the player could be outbid should rivals from the Championship or League One in England enter the race for his signature.

"I will try to get the opportunity to speak to Jonny Hayes, but I haven't done so," said the Aberdeen manager.

"The vibes are okay. I think Terry wants him to stay and we've indicated a desire to have him.

"He will obviously get other offers, I assume, and it's up to Jonny.

"The big danger with these guys if they do well in the SPL is the First Division and the Championship in England - the financial clout against us."