Matty Kennedy opens up on his Aberdeen injury hell

Sitting by the pool in Lanzarote and Tenerife sounds like the perfect way to unwind after a long, hard season.

The trouble was it wasn’t the end of a long, hard season. It was midway through one.

Matty Kennedy was watching Aberdeen’s struggles from afar, having been advised to get away on holiday during months of rehabilitation following a debilitating back injury.

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The winger has endured a troubling period when he admits he didn’t know when or even if he would ever return to top-class football.

Matty Kennedy is back in Aberdeen picture after a long injury lay-off.
Matty Kennedy is back in Aberdeen picture after a long injury lay-off.
Matty Kennedy is back in Aberdeen picture after a long injury lay-off.

Aberdeen’s slump and knowing players had been brought in to play in his position did not make things any easier for him.

The Northern Ireland international played 39 times last season for club and country. So far this campaign he has played just twice. Those two substitute appearances might have come in recent defeats to St Mirren and Livingston but they represent significant steps forward following times when the 27-year-old feared for his career.

There was doubt about the nature of a condition later diagnosed as stress fractures.

“The news was difficult to hear but I was glad because I was going through so much pain with it,” he says. “To find out what it was, I was happy with that. Then you find out how long you need to be off and that was a shock.”

Initially he thought it might be around six weeks, which he could just about cope with. Then he was told it would be 12 weeks. He headed home to Glasgow to recuperate with his family. He even headed abroad for a couple of holidays while keeping abreast of events at Pittodrie via the club’s own TV channel.

“I tuned into RedTV,” he reveals. “I watched all the games, I went away on holiday. The gaffer and physio told me to get away and just clear my head so I went on a couple of holidays. You’d be sitting by the pool with the laptop open watching games. Obviously I’d be in touch with the boys after the game. I knew they were going through a difficult time so I would try and support them even though I was away.”

The first-team dressing room returned this backing. These players might have been struggling on the pitch but at least they were able to play a part, unlike their stricken teammate. “Rossco (Ross McCrorie) would message me a lot, me and Rossco are tight – we are from the same area,” says Kennedy.

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“Mikey Devlin is injured at the moment and he was down the road a lot as well. We only stay about half an hour from each other. I met him quite a lot for coffees. I have other boys in the team who are there for me all the time – I kick around with a lot of the boys as I am up here myself. We are all good mates here.”

It’s one reason why Kennedy is happy a proposed move to St Mirren fell through in the transfer window. His return to fitness gives the under pressure manager Stephen Glass another option Aberdeen prepare to host league leaders Celtic.

Kennedy hopes to be involved again after playing the last 25 minutes of Saturday’s defeat to Livingston. “There is no better test than Celtic to see how good a player you actually are,” he says.

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