GRAEME Shinnie, the Aberdeen captain, last night targeted a fourth consecutive second placed finish after Derek McInnes, their manager, turned down the chance to join Rangers.

McInnes had been widely expected to move to Ibrox this week after his former club made an official approach to their Pittodrie rivals on Tuesday evening following weeks of speculation.

The 46-year-old and his assistant Tony Docherty have both been absent from training in the last two days while they have considered their futures.

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However, he has decided to remain in the north-east and Shinnie, who was appointed captain at the end of last season, reckons coming runners-up once again this term should now by their objective.

Aberdeen have picked up just seven points out of a possible 21 in their last seven Premiership games and have fallen behind Rangers in the table on goal difference.

“We want to do as well as we can which means closing the gap on Celtic as well as we can,” said Shinnie. “Given the form they are in it has been tough After that, second place is where we want to be.

“We haven’t hit the heights as we know we can, but we lost six points to Rangers last week and are still on the same points as them.

“We’re still in a position where we are fighting for it. It will be a tough period between now and the Christmas break so we have to get our heads down and focus. We’re in a good position in the league fighting with Rangers and Hibs.”

He added: “We knew coming into this December period that it was going to be a tough period for us with some big games. But these are the games that you play football for.

Like I said, we have been disappointed with the last two results. We need to try and put that right and get a bit of confidence going forward into the games after that.”

Shinnie stressed that weeks of speculation over the future of McInnes shouldn’t have impacted on the Aberdeen players’ form.

But he is optimistic now it has been settled they will be able to put an extended run of wins together and challenge strongly for second.

“It is an easy way out to say that the uncertainty is why we haven’t been getting results,” he said. “As players, we can’t let it affect us in terms of our football.

“We have to go out and do as well as we can. The last two results haven’t been good enough. The game against Dundee tonight is massive for us. We want to get back to winning ways.

“We have had some tough games. They haven’t gone the way we wanted them to go. But throughout the season we haven’t hit the heights that we know we can. The main thing is we have been picking up results.

“Maybe recently it has gone the opposite way. You could say it has been no coincidence, but as a player I wouldn’t say that what has been going on around the club has affected me. It has just been poor performances.

“As players we have to focus and we’ve tried not to let the speculation affect us and we shouldn’t let it affect us. We need to keep on the straight and narrow and ensure our results pick-up.

“Naturally, you want some sort of clarification The training has been good, it has been as normal, the tempo has been brilliant. The players are more focused on trying to get back to winning ways.”