Graham Shinnie says he always believed he would come back to Aberdeen at some point after making the ‘very difficult’ decision to leave.
The 31-year-old, who played for the Reds for four years before leaving for Derby County in 2019, returns to Pittodrie on loan from English Championship side Wigan.
And as he prepares to potentially make his second Dons debut as they host St Johnstone on Saturday he admitted it was the move that he wanted.
He said: “There were other options on the table, but this was the one that felt right for me. I felt that it was the right time for me to come back and the excitement is there to try and help the team.
“I wasn’t featuring for Wigan which was frustrating, so it was a case of if it wasn’t wanted there then I needed to go and play somewhere else. I had kept in touch with the Chairman over the years, and contact was made and things were sorted pretty quick, and before I knew it I was back up the road.
“I always felt that I would come back and I’ve always kept an eye on it.
“When I left at that point it was a very, very hard decision. I loved my time here, both with my football and where I was at with the club. I had loads of good friends and people around the club, so it was a very difficult decision for me.
“But I wanted to test myself in England, and I managed to go and do that. But as I say I always had it in the back of my mind that I had a vision about coming back, and here we are now.”
During his time down south the former Scotland international played under a string of managers including legendary England and Manchester United forward Wayne Rooney at Derby, and despite his English adventure not going entirely as planned, he insists he has improved as a player since he left Scotland four years ago.
He said: “I feel that I am a better player now.
“I’ve had different managers and different styles of football, so I have had to adjust to how managers wanted me to play. As much as I love the nitty-gritty side of the game, I have had to adjust to getting on the ball in different areas. Under Wayne Rooney we played a very specific type of football where the midfielders would pull out into the full back areas and let them push on.
“Learning these different roles and styles of play has helped me, and it’s about taking that in and going out and doing what the manager wants us to do.
“I’ve been here a couple of days now and I am very impressed by the day-to-day running of the training and the club. Everything has been very positive in the talks that we have had, but obviously this is a results business, and it is about turning those good performances into wins.
“Tomorrow’s game is very important. At a club like Aberdeen there is a massive demand to win games and we all know that, so it’s about going out on the game days and showing that. I can’t wait to be out there and be in and amongst it again, and hopefully try and give them a win.