Jimmy Thelin's Aberdeen revival plan as Nicky Devlin reveals non-negotiables

Jimmy Thelin has been preparing his new side for the 2024/25 campaign
-Credit: (Image: Ross Johnston/Newsline Media)

Jimmy Thelin has given his Aberdeen squad the non-negotiable factors if they want to be a part of the Reds' revival.

Experienced defender Nicky Devlin, entering his second season at Pittodrie, admitted the Swede and his backroom team have come in and delivered a real shake-up.

Thelin wants to give the team an identity again, and wants nothing less than 100 per cent from his players while installing a real pride back in wearing that red shirt, writes the Daily Record.

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Devlin said: "The gaffer has outlined what he wants and he will do it bit by bit and drip it into us. He has highlighted certain things that are non negotiable and that we have to do.

"It has been good so far, really enjoyable. It has been great since we came back as all the boys are working so hard to get back up to match fitness.

"The boys came back in good condition and the stats and tests were all positive. It is just about getting the gaffer's ideas now and understanding what he wants."

Thelin has brought in his assistants, Christer Persson and Emir Bajrami, with him, but the good thing for the Dons is that first-team coach Peter Leven remains in place. That has brought a bit of continuity, as the squad continues their pre-season preparations in Portugal.

"There is probably a lot different about the club this season," Devlin admitted. "There are a lot of different backroom staff as well.

Nicky Devlin in pre-season training in Portugal
Nicky Devlin in pre-season training in Portugal -Credit:Ross Johnston/Newsline Media

"The physios, sport science people and Pete are the same but apart from that it is completely different with new coaches and goalie coach (Craig Hinchcliffe). Pete was brilliant for us at the end of last season.

"As there is so much change it is good to have a familiar face that was there last season as well. We were in a hole when he came in and he did brilliantly.

"Everyone comes in with different ideas and it is an exciting period. When change happens everyone is intrigued to see how it will pan out and what the changes are going to be. Every manager when you go into a club no matter where you are will try to tell us certain things."

Devlin is one of the older players in the Aberdeen squad, along with Graeme Shinnie. He reckons the skipper should be an inspiration for everyone in the squad.

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"I'm only 30 but am the third oldest so we have a young group of players. There is the benefit of having someone like Shinnie at the top of it.

"You come back in for pre-season testing and Shinnie is at the top of it. Shinnie shows straight away that this is the standard that is expected. He sets an unbelievable example.

"That's where you have to be, that is the standard, as Shinnie has obviously been very successful at Aberdeen. He shows straight away the levels and you need people like that.

"Shinnie was brilliant for me when I came in and I came in as an older player. With a young group like we have, Shinnie is the perfect example of where you have to get to if you want to be successful."

Devlin knows there is a pressure at Aberdeen and that is something the new arrivals will need to adapt to. He admitted: "One of the harder things the new boys have to learn, and quickly, is pressure playing for a club like Aberdeen."

"There is pressure on the club to be successful, the fans want to be successful. To play for a club like Aberdeen is brilliant that's what you want, that pressure.

Nicky Devlin was an ever-present part of the Dons squad last season
Nicky Devlin was an ever-present part of the Dons squad last season -Credit:SNS Group

"New players have to adapt to that quickly. The good thing for us is we start competitive games three weeks after we've been back.

"And they are games where we have to win. There are no excuses not to win those games. You get that experience very early on as a new player and it can only stand them in good stead.'"

The former Livingston star missed one game last season. He admitted he had to switch off this summer because he was physically and mentally spent after a rollercoaster first campaign in the Granite City.

He said: "It is probably the least I have ever done in an off season, especially the first couple of weeks. I just felt like I couldn't. I had to just stop all exercise to be honest.

"The body goes through a lot during the season but mentally you need a break. Especially with how up and down the season was. We had some unbelievable highs during it but they were probably matched by just lows. That takes it out of you.

"But come the Queen of the South game we will be ready to go again. Hopefully we play the same amount of games again as that means we will be in the latter rounds of competitions again.

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"St Johnstone at home was the only game last season I didn't play in. It is the most I have ever played in a season but if you gave me the same numbers again this year I would be more than happy.

"It would mean we are getting to cup finals. That St Johnstone game was under Neil Warnock. The period he was at the club I don't think I was playing well. I was making mistakes I previously hadn't made earlier in the season.

"There were a couple of times it cost us points. At the time I don't think I could have had any complaints that I didn't play in the game.

"As a footballer you know yourself if you are in good form or not, you're not daft. I knew I wasn't. I was disappointed I didn't play but couldn't have any complaints."