SHAYDEN MORRIS was prepared for his introduction to the rough-and-tumble of life in the cinch Premiership with Aberdeen after receiving a ringing endorsement from former Dons player/coach Scott Brown.
The long-serving Celtic midfielder landed his first role in management in England’s League One with Fleetwood Town over the summer, where Morris established himself in the first team before sealing a move to Pittodrie earlier this month.
Brown departed Aberdeen within a week of Jim Goodwin’s arrival at the north east club but the former Scotland internationalist told Morris that it was the perfect platform for the winger to further develop his game and hit new heights.
Morris, who came off the bench in last weekend’s 3-2 home defeat to Motherwell to make his debut, feels he has the necessary talents to settle in quickly to the demands of Scottish football – and from what he has experienced so far, both he and Brown believe he can thrive at his new club, starting this afternoon away to St Johnstone.
“The platform is definitely there,” the 20-year-old explained. “I spoke to a few people. Obviously Michael Devlin, who was here, and Scott Brown too is someone I spoke to a lot before I made the move.
“They both told me that the platform would be good to show my ability and Aberdeen is a club that aims high. They are aiming for European football so I want to be part of a team who are winning and competing in competitions.
“I loved working with him [Brown] and he liked working with me. We sat down a lot and spoke a lot. But when things are meant to be elsewhere it’s obviously right.
“He didn’t hold me back and he thought it was the right choice to make, even though it was difficult to part ways. But I felt in myself that this was the right move for me. He told me: ‘Honestly, you will do well in this league. You will show what you can do and you will get to the next level there’.
“He did say it’s not an easy league to come to. It’s not maybe what you have heard before but it is a tough league and the physicality needs to be there. He told me that it’s not easy and you have to make sure you are ready for it.
“I do feel like I’m strong enough to compete, even after a little glimpse on Saturday. I feel like I’m fast enough and I have the mental side as well to battle. So I don’t feel like I need much work – apart from maybe settling in a bit more, and getting used to living in Scotland. But other than that I think this will be fine for me.”
Morris tasted defeat on his introduction to life at the Dons but he expects that to be the exception to his time at the club. The demands placed on the players by the support were a big part of the attraction of the move, he says, and he expects an improved showing from the team this afternoon in Perth.
“Yeah, it wasn’t the best, performance-wise, from the team,” Morris conceded. “It does happen. We have been on the pitch all week and we are just looking to put it right on Saturday.
“We know as footballers that we are not going to win every single game in our career. You have to have the mentality where you put things aside and just be ready to go again.
“It was disappointing after the game and you do go home and you are disappointed but as soon as a fresh week comes you are just ready to go and the focus now is on St Johnstone.
“I do feel like I want to win every game I am part of. Previously I have been involved in losing games and it is tough to take for me. I want to be part of a team where we are winning and coming here is something that I think will help me be part of a winning team. I am a winner myself.”