Shinnie relieved to play his part in full after last season’s frustrations

Andrew Shinnie makes a run into the box at Plymouth on Saturday
Andrew Shinnie makes a run into the box at Plymouth on Saturday

Hatters midfielder Andrew Shinnie is relishing his involvement in the first team during their push for promotion this season, after missing out last year.

The 29-year-old had made 28 appearances in the early stages of the previous campaign, before not starting a game after the 2-1 defeat to Colchester on March 30, not even making the squad during the final few matches either.

Now a midfield diamond without the Scotsman is almost unthinkable, Shinnie starting every single game of the Hatters’ record breaking 24 Football League games unbeaten, while completing a number of 90 minutes too, something of a rarity last term.

He has added goals and assists this term, setting up Jack Stacey during the 1-0 win at Bradford on Tuesday night, and on his greater impact, Shinnie said: “I’m just delighted, last year was tough to take at the end of it.

“This is a big part of the season where you want to be involved and you want to be pushing to get over the line and it was difficult last year.

“But it is what it is, I’ve moved on from that now and I’m glad I’m involved as you want to be involved in this unbeaten run.

It’s something you want to be a part of and I’m just glad I’m playing most minutes now as well.

Andrew Shinnie

“Top of the league too, it’s something you want to be a part of and I’m just glad I’m playing most minutes now as well.

“Number ten can be a tough role, you get subbed a lot, but I feel I’m putting in performances where Mick’s (Harford) putting trust in me, leaving me on, so I’m enjoying it.”

It’s not just Harford and the fans that Shinnie is impressing, but his fellow team-mates too, with striker Danny Hylton saying last week that he was the ‘best player by a million miles’ this season.

On the glowing praise, Shinnie continued: “I text him as I saw it online and said ‘thanks for that, that’s nice of you mate.’

“He’s a great lad and it was nice of him to say that about me and I will encourage him as this season has maybe taken a little bit of a knock to his confidence but he’ll get on with it, as he’s a big lad.”

The midfielder once again reiterated how a slight change in his role within the team has definitely benefited him and led to a consistently high level of performance in recent months.

He said: “Massively, I’m, glad that’s happened, and I feel the position I’m playing now suits me better.

“It makes me probably last the full game as well, as number 10, at times maybe I played it wrong, I was running too much, trying to find space.

“I can take a breather now and again when I need it and burst through when I need it, so I’m enjoying where I’m playing.”