Kenny McLean to bring Europe form to Pittodrie

Kenny McLean celebrates his winner against Dundee United, one of three goals he has scored for Aberdeen away from home this season. Picture: SNS
Kenny McLean celebrates his winner against Dundee United, one of three goals he has scored for Aberdeen away from home this season. Picture: SNS
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Kenny McLean has scored three vital goals for Aberdeen on his travels this summer and is determined to finally do the same for the club at Pittodrie.

The midfielder hit seven goals in total last season but all of them came for St Mirren before a £300,000 transfer north in January.

Scoring the two goals in Europe brought my confidence up a fair bit

Kenny McLean

Derek McInnes was happy with McLean’s contribution during those first few months but the Aberdeen manager must be ecstatic at the way he’s started this campaign.

The 23-year-old’s first domestic goal was Sunday’s deft looping header at Tannadice which earned the Dons a win on the opening weekend of the new Ladbrokes Premiership season.

McLean’s first for the club came in the 3-0 demolition of HNK Rijeka in Croatia and was followed by what could be an even more important Europa League strike.

It was McLean who scored the away goal in Almaty that limited a talented FC Kairat side to a 2-1 advantage going into tomorrow’s return leg at Pittodrie.

Aberdeen have already seen off Macedonia’s KF Shkendija on the away goals rule and a single goal win tomorrow would be enough to take care of the team from Kazakhstan as well.

McLean admits it would the perfect time to end his goal drought at Pittodrie. He said: “My confidence is high and it would be a big thing for me if I could finally score my first goal at home for the club. Scoring the two in Europe brought my confidence up a fair bit. It means I’m going out there every game feeling good about my chances of scoring.

“It’s not all about me scoring a goal on Thursday though, it’s about us ensuring we do enough to get through the tie.

“We are all heading into the game confident we can do that. Our second half performance over in Kazakhstan was really good and if we can produce that for the full 90 minutes on 
Thursday we can make it into the next round.”

Aberdeen can expect the backing of another bumper crowd on Thursday as they attempt to progress beyond the third qualifying round. They have already sold more than 15,000 tickets for the return leg against the Kazakhstan league leaders. And McLean knows from the drawn games at home against Shkendija and Rijeka in previous rounds just how important that support will be.

He added: “Having a huge crowd behind us would be a massive help. I always knew Aberdeen were a big club but I never realised just how big until I actually came here and saw how large and passionate the fan base is.

“The response from the Dons fans in the games we have played so far this season has been a real eye opener for me.

“They showed hw much doing well in Europe means to them by turning out in big numbers for the previous two home legs.

“They were also there in force behind us at Tannadice and support like that does have a positive effect on you out on the pitch.

“It gives you a lift and makes you even more eager to do well for them.

“We’ve got a lot to play for and our chances of success are greater because of that backing.”