Aberdeen captain Graeme Shinnie has admitted that it would have been “hard to watch” the Dons in action last weekend from the stands had he been unable to play in their last home game before he joins Derby County.

Shinnie heads south at the end of the season but returned from injury for the weekend clash with Hearts – and told how he was “desperate” to play against the Jambos.

ABERDEEN, SCOTLAND - APRIL 03: Niall McGinn of Aberdeen makes it 3-1 and celebrates with manager Derek McInnes and Graeme Shinnie during the Ladbrokes Scottish Premiership match between Aberdeen and Motherwell at Pittodrie Stadium on April 3, 2019 in Aberdeen, Scotland.

(Photo by Scott Baxter/Getty Images)

Shinnie insists that it wasn’t about him but helping Derek McInnes’ side seal a Europa League spot for next season – with the race going down to the final day of the season.

“It would’ve been hard to watch from the stands. I wanted to help the team out because it wasn’t about me,” Shinnie told the Evening Express.

ABERDEEN, SCOTLAND - FEBRUARY 10: Graeme Shinnie of Aberdeen and Manager Derek McInnes wave at full time during the Scottish Cup 5th Round match between Aberdeen and Queen of The South at Pittodrie Stadium on February 10, 2019 in Aberdeen, Scotland.

(Photo by Scott Baxter/Getty Images)

“We’ve still got a lot to play for to try to secure third and get that European spot.

“I was more desperate to help the boys.”

The Dons play Hibs while Kilmarnock host Rangers with both sides hoping to secure a passport into the Europa League.

ABERDEEN, SCOTLAND - DECEMBER 18: Paul McGowan of Dundee tackles Graeme Shinnie of Aberdeen during the Ladbrokes Scottish Premiership match between Aberdeen and Dundee at Pittodrie Stadium on December 18, 2018 in Aberdeen, Scotland.

(Photo by Scott Baxter/Getty Images)

After reaching the competition consistently in recent years, failure to make it this year would be a massive blow for the Dons after losing their grip on second in the league to Rangers.

Both sides are level on points ahead of the final game but the Dons must surely have the advantage with Steve Clarke’s facing a Rangers team in their best form of the season.