DYLAN McGeouch believes working under Derek McInnes at Aberdeen can help him to kick-start his career after a frustrating spell at Sunderland and insisted his time at the Stadium of Light has made him a stronger person and player.

Former Celtic, Hibernian and Scotland midfielder McGeouch signed a contract with the Pittodrie club until 2022 this week and has travelled with his new team mates to their winter training camp in Dubai.

The 26-year-old moved to Wearside in 2018 shortly after Jack Ross was appointed manager - but Ross was sacked in October and he has only played in two games under new head coach Phil Parkinson since.

McGeouch admitted that his time in England had been difficult, but stressed he was keen to put it firmly behind him and concentrate on helping Aberdeen to enjoy success.

“I don’t want to make excuses and blame managers,” he said. “For one reason or another, it didn’t work out. I had a few wee niggles at the start and was in and out of the team a bit.

“I would say sometimes it was a difficult club to be around. They’re a big club – the fans are passionate and are there in their numbers every week. They’re a Premier League club competing in League 1 and it’s a tough league to get out of. The expectations are there. As players you’ve got to deal with that.

"A new manager coming in wipes the slate. But from the first week he (Parkinson) was in, I was left out of squads. I knew then that I’d be moving on in January.

"So Derek was back on the phone and was really keen to get back to Scotland. Players get frustrated not playing and that was when I knew I needed to go and get regular game-time and kick-start my career.

“I had a good few years at Hibs, getting into the international squad, and you go down the road thinking ‘right, I’m going to kick on’. But it just never really worked out. It happens quite a lot. It doesn’t go to the plan you thought it would.”

McGeouch added: “I’ve learned a lot, about how to take the knocks and keep pushing forward. I was the same when I first went to Hibs. Coming from Celtic, going and getting regular games and I was back. I’ve taken a wee knock and hopefully I can come back to Scotland and kick-start my career again. Personally, I hope I can get the performances back to the way I know I can.

“You try take the positives. It’s easy to let your head go down and say ‘I should have done this’. You just have to take responsibility and move on, say it never worked. I’ve definitely learned a lot from it.

“The feeling of players knowing they’re wanted by the manager and part of their plans going forward is key. I feel that with the manager here. He was keen three years ago to bring me in and he’s always been there. Hopefully I can repay him and bring success to the club and the squad.”