Craig Bryson is determined to show he is not over the hill at Aberdeen this season as he looks to answer Twitter trolls who claim he views Pittodrie as a retirement home.
The 33-year-old’s first season in the Granite City last term proved to be the worst of the his 18-year career as a persistent ankle injury saw him continually break down.
The former Kilmarnock and Derby midfielder was limited to just 12 appearances despite undergoing surgery and a series of injections in order to return to action.
But what stung more than the pain in his leg was the suggestions online from a small section of the Red Army that he was injury-prone and only interested in collecting one last payday before hanging up his boots.
Bryson is ready to make clear when the Dons kick off the new season at home to Rangers on Saturday that nothing could be further from the truth.
He said: “I’m on Twitter and I saw some things on there saying I was just up here to pick up a wage, injury-prone, etc.
“If you look back over my career then I’ve played over 550 games, so I’m definitely not injury-prone.
“I picked up an injury playing for Aberdeen and just couldn’t get it sorted.
“It’s not been for the want of trying. I did everything to get back. The lads and the manager have seen that.
“I know fans only see a Saturday with Bryson still out injured and might think he’s just up here for retirement.
“But it’s definitely not the case. They don’t know me as a person. Everyone who does knows I’ve tried everything possible to get back playing.
“I’ve got that extra bit of motivation now, just for myself really as I hated missing games.”
Last season was only the second time since making his senior debut for Clyde back in 2004 that Bryson has failed to chalk up at least 20 games.
“I just want to get back on the pitch,” he said. “If I have to modify my training during the week to make myself available for the gaffer on a Saturday then that’s what I’ll do.
“When you get to my age – which still sounds weird saying that – then sometimes less is more so I just have to manage my week to be ready to play 90 minutes on a Saturday.
“Last season was by far the hardest spell of my career. I’m going into my 18th season now and that’s by far the longest I’ve ever spent out.
“I’d come back probably too soon at times even though I knew I wasn’t ready. I came up here with a bit of a reputation. I wanted to play for Aberdeen so maybe I pushed myself too much when it wasn’t right.
“I tried an operation which didn’t really work. Tried a few injections which didn’t do the job either.
“The longer it goes on the more you start thinking, ‘Is this ever going to get better?’
“I think I’m going to have to have a good season this term to turn a few of the Aberdeen fans onside.
“I’ve obviously had a tough time. It was a bit of a nightmare and hopefully I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.
“Fingers crossed we’re on the right track.”
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