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Wednesday 29th May 2024

Scottish League Cup Group Stage Draw - 1pm

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Anderson delighted to win his fitness battle


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RUSSELL ANDERSON believes he has finally won over the doubters who wrote him off as finished.

 

The Aberdeen captain is set to face Dundee on Sunday after shrugging off a hamstring strain that saw him miss last weekend’s win against Kilmarnock.

 

The 34-year-old was gutted to sit out – but it’s one of only a handful of games he hasn’t played this season despite fears over his fitness following five years of injury hell. The 11-times capped Scotland star has made 35 appearances this term, having made barely 50 starts in five seasons of torment at Sunderland, Burley and Plymouth Argyle.

 

The Dons icon – who spent 10 years at Pittodrie in his first spell before his £1million move to Sunderland in 2007 – returned last year and signed a 12-month extension in January after proving he was back to his best.

 

The season may not have gone the way he wanted for the Dons but he has passed his own expectations and is looking forward to life under new boss Derek McInnes.

 

Anderson said: “I’ve played a lot more games than I thought I would. I have played more than 30 times – probably more than the last four years put together.

 

“That’s been a pleasant surprise, so from that point of view it’s gone well. In terms of where we have finished in the league I’d like to have done better.

 

“But I’ve been happy to play so many games. I feel like I’ve contributed to the team. I’ve played better in some games than others and there are some I’d rather forget.

 

“I’d like to think I’ve given enough to show I was worth the new contract.”

 

Anderson is relishing his Indian summer after admitting he had his own doubts after two major operations. He’s loving every minute on the pitch – even the televised 0-0 bore draw at Hibs last week that had viewers scrambling for the remote control.

 

He said: “I’m just enjoying playing again. It’s been a while after so many years of injury problems.

 

“There are probably only two or three people who even enjoyed the Hibs game and I was one of them. It wasn’t entertaining to watch but when you’re asked to defend like that it’s nice to walk off with a clean sheet.

 

“It’s always good to have a tangible reward for all of the effort that’s put in.”

 

Anderson has impressed his new gaffer already.

 

McInnes said: “Russell has had his injury problems in the past so there is no point risking him if he’s not quite right. But if you look at the number of games he’s played this year, it is up there with anyone in the squad.

 

“We’ll manage him but there’s no way we will just put him on ice for the rest of the season. He’s too important a player and one I want to have around.

 

“If Russell’s fit then chances are he’ll play.”

 

I have been liking Anderson since his return but a few of his recent performances has started to look a bit ropey - especially the Utd game.

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Burley? Who are they? Also made 34 appearances for Derby County.

 

There's no doubt he's starting to slow down although overall I'd still say he's been pretty solid this season. His reading of the game has helped him with losing his pace (what little he had). I hope he gets some rest during the summer and can continue to perform next season.

 

 

 

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