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Inverness CT v Aberdeen: Brown questions Fraser's decision to take flight

Ryan Fraser has thrived on unpredictability this season and his latest move certainly caught a few unaware.

Ryan Fraser has left Pittodrie to join League One club Bournemouth
Ryan Fraser has left Pittodrie to join League One club Bournemouth

It remains to be seen whether his career will continue to blossom, though.

The teenager yesterday signed a three-and-a-half year contract with npower League One club Bournemouth, bringing an end to his time at Aberdeen. Craig Brown, the Pittodrie side's manager, bemoaned the departure of a shining talent but seemed more piqued that the winger had set his sights so low.

The teenager had been determined to develop his career south of the border and Brown admitted his loss would be felt in the second half of the Clydesdale Bank Premier League campaign, which starts with a trip to face Inverness Caledonian Thistle today.

"It's a big blow, because he was a sparkling addition to the team this season and it would be churlish if I said that we won't miss him," said the Aberdeen manager. "We have won and done well in games when he wasn't available but he was a crowd-pleasing player and there are not many like him. That's why it's disappointing to lose someone who gets supporters on the edge of their seat when he gets the ball.

"With no disrespect to Bournemouth, however, I am surprised that he has gone there as I thought there would be clubs in the English Premiership or Championship interested in Ryan. Instead he's gone to a club in the third tier of English football and it's disappointing that a League One team can take a top prospect from an SPL club, but that's the reality.

"Jamie Murphy left Motherwell for Sheffield United in that league. They are a bigger club than Aberdeen, and my old club Preston North End get bigger attendances than we do. What I told Ryan is that he would have had a higher profile playing in the SPL than he'll get in the third tier of English football, without being disrespectful to League One clubs.

"The fact that he wanted to go was a disappointment but we have a lot of promising young players here that have signed on for the long term which is pleasing."

Pittodrie youngsters Nicky Low and Declan McManus will be among the squad that travels to the Highlands this afternoon, while Isaac Osbourne, Stephen Hughes and Rob Milsom will also come into contention.

Milsom, who has missed most of the past year with knee injuries, is itching to experience first-team football once more "My contract is up at the end of the season and the aim is to win a new one," he said. "I feel like I need to prove myself again as I have been out for so long."

The Premier League has been in cold storage for the past two weeks but few will have forgotten the impact Inverness have made on the league table this season. Terry Butcher's side are vying for second place – they are joined on 34 points by Motherwell – and the Inverness manager is revelling in the chance to knock down the challenges of more established sides.

"I love to bloody the noses of everyone in the SPL," said Butcher. "I take great pleasure in that as people expect to beat us, thinking we are a little pub team from the Highlands. We have proved we are not as have Ross County. There are some heavy punches coming from the Highlands. There is still an element of the mind-set that we are a wee team who shouldn't be up here competing at this level, and certainly shouldn't be second."

Andrew Shinnie is expected to feature despite contract talks stalling between the club and the forward, while Butcher has laid out his demands simply to his squad ahead of Aberdeen's visit. "It comes down to two words: hard work."

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