Wanted: Experienced Player To Replace Paul Hartley
Craig Brown wants somebody who can guide the young players once they cross the white line. Craig Brown has already begun the process of trying to find somebody who can take the place of Paul Hartley, who announced his retirement on Friday, for Aberdeen next season. The Dons captain had a year left to run on his contract but decided his body was no longer capable of playing at the highest level. Speaking ahead of today's game at Easter Road, one of Hartley's former clubs, Brown said: "We're very disappointed that Paul has had to finish his career here, because he's had an illustrious career. He was a huge influence here at Pittodrie, but it became apparent that he was struggling to maintain the high standards he set himself. We felt it better that we spoke with him and in conjunction with him decided that we would cancel his contract. We wish him very well because no player deserves it more." Brown is checking his little black book of contacts to find a player to come in for the Dons talisman. The former Scotland manager went on: "To try to replace a player like Paul Hartley is going to be very difficult. We're on the case. It is not easy. Everybody's looking for the same player and there is only a limited number of those players." Brown said Hartley assuming a coaching role with the Dons would not be possible for a number of reasons - Hartley's family live in Glasgow, while the Dons already have a strong backroom team. And Brown tipped Hartley, whose career began at Hamilton and included spells with both Edinburgh clubs, Celtic, Millwall and Bristol City, to become a manager. Brown added: "I think Paul's more suited to go right in at the top level of management." Hartley also sees his future in management. He added: "I plan to take my coaching badges in the summer, but that doesn't guarantee anything. I definitely want to stay in the game. I feel I've got a lot to offer and the management side of it is something I want to do. I feel if I'm given the chance I can be a success at that. I've worked under some top managers - four Scotland managers - and given the opportunity hopefully the stuff I've taken from them I can take into management." The Dons manager will use the summer to continue to rebuild his side at Aberdeen and hopes to supplement the youth coming through the ranks with more established players. He added: "We need to support the youngsters with experience. It (Hartley's retirement) makes it more urgent that we get good experience in." There is also the matter of the future of his out-of-contract players, with Brown hoping to hear whether Jamie Langfield, Sone Aluko and Chris Maguire wish to stay as soon as the season is over. Brown, who anticipates Zander Diamond will leave, added: "I'll appeal to them after the game on Saturday to be fair to us, tell us yes or no by the start of the week and hopefully we'll get a decision." As for Saturday's game, Brown hopes to end the season on a high in a contest which will be played in tribute to former Hibs and Dons boss Eddie Turnbull, who died recently. Brown said: "I'm determined to urge the lads to win this game tomorrow. It's an emotional game at Easter Road because of the respect we all have for Eddie Turnbull. I hope it will be a good footballing match - that's what Eddie Turnbull deserved."
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