Defender Andrew Considine is sick of travelling on mini-buses to pitches around the Granite City while rivals like Celtic and Rangers have their own facilities.

The 30-year-old today warned the Dons must deliver the £50 million training complex and stadium at Kingsford for the long-term future of the club.

A pre-determination hearing will take place tomorrow, while a special meeting of Aberdeen City Council will rule on the plans on January 29.

Having been a pro at Pittodrie for 14 years, Considine is qualified more than most to comment on the need for the facilities.

He reckons it will provide considerable benefits for not just the Reds first team, but also youth development and the community.

Considine said: “The facilities we recently used out in Dubai put into perspective how desperate we are for Kingsford to go through.

“To be able to walk out on to the park at our own training ground would be ideal.

“For a club like Aberdeen and the future of our youth coming through, Kingsford is absolutely massive.

“From youth all the way up to the first team it is essential the boys have the time to go out and practice on our own pitch on what they need either before or after training.

“And for them not to feel that they have to jump on a minibus for 15 or 20 minutes to get back to the club.”

Dons boss Derek McInnes revealed his first team squad had to share a pitch with schoolkids in the build-up to the final game before the winter break, a 0-0 draw with Hearts at Pittodrie.

For a week in Dubai the Reds had access to the state-of-the-art facilities at the Jebel Ali Centre of Excellence.

It was far removed from the situation in the Granite City where the Dons have to train at Balgownie, the Barracks and Aberdeen Sports Village.

Aberdeenshire Council last week renewed its objection to the Dons proposals for the stadium and training complex.

While Aberdeenshire Council said it accepted work had been done to justify why Kingsford was the Dons’ preferred site, it maintained the objection.

Aberdeenshire Council said it was “not satisfied” with a new footbridge proposed by the club.

The No Kingsford Stadium group are also opposed to the proposed £50m development.

Club chairman Stewart Milne recently admitted he fears the days of the Granite City hosting Euro ties could be over if they don’t get the go-ahead for the new stadium.

Aberdeen are relying on dispensation from UEFA to play European matches at Pittodrie. Each year those UEFA requirements for a stadium become increasingly stringent and Milne fears there will come a time when the Reds cannot play European football at Pittodrie.

That would create the unwanted scenario of playing Euro ties in Glasgow or Edinburgh.

Considine has played at Pittodrie for more than a decade, but admits it is time to say goodbye to the old stadium.

The defender said: “Teams like Celtic, Rangers, Hearts, Hibs and even St Mirren have their own training grounds.

“Don’t get me wrong, Pittodrie has been a great stadium and has a lot of history, but it is time to move on. I would think the majority of fans probably agree.

“I know it probably takes away being able to walk there and go to the game via a pub or two and I understand that.

“Pittodrie is accessible for a lot of people. But for the club to move forward, the new stadium has to be done.

“It has been difficult to get some people to accept that it is a good thing, which is really strange because it would bring so much to Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire.”

Aberdeen face a huge week both on and off the park.

Following tomorrow’s pre-determination meeting the Reds host St Mirren in the Scottish Cup fourth round on Saturday.

Aberdeen are determined to go one better than last season when they lost 2-1 to Celtic in the final by lifting the trophy at Hampden in May.

Just four days after that Derek McInnes takes his side to face Rangers at Ibrox in the Premiership.

Aberdeen lost 3-0 at the stadium earlier in the campaign in the first game of a back-to-back double header against the Gers, with the Reds losing both.

Considine reckons Aberdeen are refreshed and ready for the second half of the campaign following a productive week-long warm weather training camp in Dubai.

He said: “Dubai came at the right time for us after a busy December. We produced some good results in that run but it was great to go away to Dubai and use the fantastic facilities that were available.

“There is also proper team bonding when you are away for a week. We all enjoyed our time in Dubai, although training was tough, but now we are looking forward to the Scottish Cup tie and the rest of the season.

“There is another busy period of games coming up for us and the whole squad is going to be needed.”

Originally published Evening Express – 16 January 2018