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Inverness C T 3 Aberdeen 0: Forward plays for time as Butcher's men keep ticking along

Aberdeen supporters will be keeping their ears to the ground this week.

Andrew Shinnie wants to take his time before deciding where his future lies. Picture: SNS
Andrew Shinnie wants to take his time before deciding where his future lies. Picture: SNS

Admittedly, it is much harder to see the weaknesses in their side from that vantage point, but more pertinently fans of the Pittodrie side will be eager to hear if there is any truth to the rumour that Andrew Shinnie is prepared to move back in with his parents and sign a pre-contract agreement with his hometown club.

The Inverness Caledonian Thistle forward – afforded licence to roam in a side brimming with confidence and a belief that has brought swift thinking and slick football – has tended to stand out this season but, on Saturday, Shinnie also exemplified a shared trait in his side in that Inverness worked diligently to produce an extremely impressive performance.

Shinnie's opener, early in the second half, was not only breathtaking in its execution but underlined a paucity of defensive nous by Aberdeen, a factor that was emphasised later as Billy McKay brought his goal tally for the season to 20 with two stunning strikes as his speed of thought and predatory instincts proved too much for a ponderous Pittodrie back four.

The result meant that the Highland side's last 20 games have been interrupted by only one defeat; which perhaps ratifies the decision of Terry Butcher to earlier this month reject an offer to fill the vacant manager's role at Barnsley and instead continue in a job in which he is revelling.

The Inverness manager, meanwhile, awaits Shinnie's decision on a new contract offer, though it is one the former Rangers youngster is in no rush to make, given that his deal at Inverness still has six months left to run. Until a final decision is made speculation about a move elsewhere will continue, of course, and there are many who believe that his talents deserve a higher platform.

"It is not a standstill as far as my contract is concerned," Shinnie said, responding to Butcher's suggestion earlier in the week that talks had faltered. "I said to the manager I don't want to rush into making a decision now, in case it is a decision I regret. I am just going to wait until I am convinced what my next move will be.

"I am going to be 24 in the summer and the next stage of my career will be a big one for me. I just asked him for a bit of time to think about it and he said it was okay. I have heard rumours about a move to Aberdeen. People have started these stories online but whether there is any truth in it I don't know."

A forward would be a welcome addition for Craig Brown since the Aberdeen manager needs to find a sufficient partner for Niall McGinn, given that Scott Vernon is yet to show any indication of finding the net regularly.

Brown might also be concerned that a number of his players – Russell Anderson, Gavin Rae, Isaac Osbourne and Stephen Hughes among them – are approaching the twilight of their careers or have spent too much time on the treatment table in recent seasons to represent the new generation at the club.

Hughes returned to midfield on Saturday having overcome the recurrence of a persistent knee problem and accepted his side were beaten by a much more accomplished team: "The likes of McKay, Shinnie and Aaron Doran roam about and cause problems if you give them chances," he said.

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