Aidan Keena on Hearts revenge and standard of Scottish football as Sligo Rovers striker downs Motherwell

Aidan Keena is happy to have earned some revenge for the times Motherwell put Hearts to the sword at Fir Park.

“I think I lost here twice or three times with Hearts,” he said. “David Turnbull scored a few against us one time. So, it was nice to come back and get my first win here.”

Now with Sligo Rovers, Keena helped trigger a customary bout of introspection within Scottish football after Motherwell came a cropper in the first leg of their Europa Conference League second qualifying round tie.

Keena himself proved the difference with a deft lob over Liam Kelly for the game’s only goal in the first half.

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The 23-year-old isn’t sure if he’s taken a backward step by returning to Irish football after his time in Scotland, where he also played for Falkirk and on loan at Queen’s Park and Dunfermline. “I’m not really interested. I don’t know,” he said.

“I’m not really worried about Motherwell. Maybe some people call it a higher level, but I think it is up to us to put a game plan together and anyone can beat anyone.

“There are obviously some better players with them, some better players with us. I couldn’t tell you who is at a better level, but we won 1-0. Next Thursday they’ll be coming right at us again and we need to be right on it.”

With 12 goals in his last 12 games, Keena is clearly the danger man ahead of next week’s second leg at the Showgrounds. It was particularly satisfying for him to issue a reminder of what he can do in Motherwell of all places.

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Sligo's Aidan Keena (centre) celebrates his goal against Motherwell. (Photo by Rob Casey / SNS Group)

“My girlfriend is from Shotts only ten minutes away and my sister lives two minutes down the road from here, so it was a familiar place for me,” he said.

“But every pitch is the same. The goals are in the same place on the pitch so it’s all the same.”

“I loved it over here,” he said. “I got a girlfriend and a daughter from here so it’s brilliant. I love coming back and come back all the time. To come back and play football here again was a bit strange but I enjoyed it.”

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