Scotland midfielder Kenny McLean took his total for the season to nine goals with the decisive second in Aberdeen’s 2-0 victory over Motherwell at Fir Park on Tuesday and then revealed he had to leave Pittodrie in order for the Dons to get the best out of him in the run-in to the current campaign.
The win propelled Derek McInnes’ side into second in the Premiership table, three points clear of Rangers. McLean’s goal was a superb solo effort, albeit with an intelligent supporting role from Greg Stewart, and he claimed that he is playing so well because he is no longer an Aberdeen player.
McLean, pictured, signed for Championship club Norwich City on a three-year deal in January but they immediately loaned him back to Pittodrie until the end of the season which, he hopes, will conclude with the Scottish Cup final on 19 May.
“Since I signed back on loan, it’s the question I’ve always been asked; how do I want to finish my Aberdeen career?” he said. “Everyone wants to win the cup as much as I do and everyone wants a trophy at the end of the season.
“It’s been easier for me since January. I’d been playing for my future ever since I said [in November] that I would be leaving Aberdeen when my contract expired in May. After signing for Norwich, my future was secured. It took a bit of the pressure off me. That’s brought the best out of me.”
For McLean, though, being relaxed does not mean that he is merely running down the clock on his time in the north east.
“There was someone from Norwich at the game on Tuesday night and – even when there isn’t – they’ll have someone analysing a DVD. I need to do as well as I can because I’m being monitored for next season.
“I don’t want to take time getting into the team, like you see with some players that go down the road; I want to hit the ground running.”