Aberdeen V Partick at Pittodrie Stadium : Match Preview

03 February 2017
Aberdeen V Partick - view commentary, squad, and statistics of the game live.

Kenny McLean delighted Aberdeen kept Jonny Hayes in January transfer window

Aberdeen midfielder Kenny McLean believes keeping Jonny Hayes at Pittodrie sent out an important message about the ambition of the club.

Cardiff had three bids for the Republic of Ireland winger rejected during the transfer window.

The 29-year-old has been a major part of Aberdeen's success under Derek McInnes and McLean is delighted to still have him as a team-mate.

Speaking ahead of the home Ladbrokes Premiership encounter with Partick Thistle, McLean said: "To keep Jonny is brilliant. It's like signing a new player in a way because a lot of people maybe thought he was away.

"When the bid came in I think everybody expected it just to happen. But fair play to the club for standing strong. It shows what the manager wants to do here, he is building something really good and he has been for the last few years.

"So keeping the boys together is a massive part of that and Jonny is a massive part of the team.

"Keeping your best players is what you need to do. A lot of clubs maybe would have just taken the money but fair play to the club.

"But right now, we look forward. Jonny is here to the end of the season at least now and we are happy with that. We just need to get back to winning."

Meanwhile, manager McInnes stated there had been no fresh developments in contract talks with Hayes after reports claimed the winger was set to sign an extension to his deal, which runs until the summer of 2018.

He said: "There is nothing new on that. Talks have been ongoing with Jonny and others over the last few weeks and months. There is nothing more imminent than what it's been."

Partick Thistle captain Sean Welsh is desperate for his team to secure the safety of a top-six spot.

Only seven points separate the bottom seven sides, and whoever finishes in the top half of the table before the split can relax for the final five matches - free from the prospect of relegation.

The Jags' 1-0 defeat at home to St Johnstone on Wednesday night meant Alan Archibald's side slipped back into seventh place, overtaken by Motherwell.

And, while Welsh is not too concerned about that at the moment, he is aware of the importance of the split.

The 26-year-old midfielder said: "That would be massive for the club, to finish in the top six. That gives you that safety because it is going to be a real scrap in the bottom six after the split.

"Realistically, everyone is fighting for one spot in the top half.

"By the looks of it now, St Johnstone have kind of pulled away as well (in fifth place) .

"So we have a right fight on our hands for that sixth spot and that is what we are aiming for.

"We think we can do it. We have a good squad but everyone else is saying the same thing.

"So it is a good battle but we need to make sure we are ready for it because it would be a massive bonus to finish in the top six.

"The seven teams are all in it together and no-one can get that run to pull them away.

"A defeat brings you back into it and everyone is trying to do the same, and pull away from that group.

"There are still plenty of games to go and it is very very tight."