Kenny McLean has no intention of quitting Aberdeen next month as the midfielder is fully focussed on maintaining the club’s position as Celtic’s closest rivals then securing a Scottish Cup winners’ medal as a leaving present.
The Scotland international told Derek McInnes back in October that he definitely wouldn’t be signing a new contract when his current deal ends next summer.
The Dons manager admitted that could tempt them to try and recover the £250,000 paid to St Mirren for the Rangers target if the right offer was made when the January transfer window opens. However, the player insists his concentration is solely on increasing the pressure on Celtic in the short term, then landing silverware before he goes.
“Obviously to leave on the back of a cup final win would be excellent, but that’s a long way away,” he said. “We need to look at what is in front of us and that’s what everyone will continue to do.
“I think the performances from me and the team have shown that and that it’s not affected us, the position that I’m in. There’s boys up and down the country who are in the same position but we’re professionals and we need to do our jobs.
“I’ve spoken about my contract situation and what’s going to happen after that but right now my focus in totally on Aberdeen, 100 per cent. If I keep doing as much as I can and playing as well as I can then it’s only going to benefit me and the club. It’s a win-win.”
Three points today would certainly be the perfect start but McLean knows how daunting a task that will be at a venue where Aberdeen haven’t picked up a single point in their last 24 league visits to Celtic Park. On a personal level the midfielder has been on the losing side all 11 times he’s played there for St Mirren and Aberdeen but given the Dons’ recent form he is confident of making it 12th time lucky.
McInnes’ side have won all three matches since he rejected the chance to replace Pedro Caixinha at Rangers, including last weekend’s impressive hammering of Hibernian.
However, McLean is well aware that they were in equally convincing form on the back of a nine-game unbeaten league run when the teams last met at Pittodrie only for Celtic to run out comfortable 3-0 winners.
“We let ourselves down in the game at home,” admits McLean. “We didn’t lay a glove on Celtic. They come up here and got their own way. We just didn’t put enough pressure on them and they came up here and did what they liked at times on the pitch. That’s not what should be happening and it’s up to us to make sure that doesn’t happen again. We’re confident going into this game and we’ll make sure it doesn’t go all their way. We need to go there and show how good we are.
“At times against Celtic we know we haven’t been good enough but I don’t think there’s a psychological barrier. It’s a tough place to go but I don’t think you can go into a game negative as we’re sitting second in the league and we’re doing really well.
Aberdeen will be forced in to at least one change as Celtic’s on-loan midfielder Ryan Christie can’t play against his parent club but Kari Arnason is available again after missing last week’s win against Hibs.