Jonny Hayes has claimed he will always be an Aberdeen supporter after announcing his exit from the club. 

Hayes played over 350 times for Aberdeen across two spells and endeared himself to the Red Army with an array of memorable moments - including inspiring a semi-final victory over St Johnstone on route to the Dons' 2014 League Cup triumph. 

The veteran winger was offered the opportunity to remain in the Granite City as a coach having already taken on academy coaching duties whilst balancing his on-field commitments, but took the tough decision to decline the chance to continue that venture. 

Now the 36-year-old is strongly rumoured to be in contention for a role at Celtic. He spent three seasons with the current Scottish Premiership champions between 2017 and 2020, and despite his connections to both clubs, the Irishman confessed he will always think fondly of Aberdeen no matter where his post-playing career takes him. 

READ MORE: Besuijen back to his best after 'mentally hard' Aberdeen period

"Over two spells I have spent almost a quarter of my life and most of my playing career at Aberdeen, therefore I will always be grateful to the board for giving me the opportunity to play at Pittodrie and latterly coach in the academy," Hayes wrote in an emotional Instagram post. 

"Even when things weren’t going to plan on the pitch, as a player you always knew you had the support of everybody associated with the club.

"Myself and my family have always felt extremely welcome in the north east over the course of nearly a decade so I want to thank every single person that has made us feel that way. I’ll never forget how people at AFC, at Westdyke and at the school helped the kids settle when we moved back here. Playing in the first team whilst my son plays in the academy is something I’m extremely proud of, and one of the many reasons I’ll always be a supporter of the club at every age group.

"I’ve made lifelong friends on and off the pitch whilst here, so I know how much the football club means to the city. I’ve always tried to show 100% commitment in every aspect of representing the club and I hope people could see that.

READ MORE: Celtic defender hoping Class of '17 reunion aids Scotland at Euro 2024

"It’s always tough letting go of something you enjoy, and I have thoroughly enjoyed my time playing for Aberdeen, so I want to thank each and every person that has supported me during my time here.

"I wish Dave and the board, Jimmy and the players, and everyone associated with the club all the best going forward."