His regular absence from Scotland squads was becoming a bone of contention with Aberdeen fans but Kenny McLean believes he had only himself to blame.
The midfielder has been called up by for Thursday’s friendly clash with the Netherlands by interim manager Malky Mackay.
McLean made his Scotland debut under Gordon Strachan in a 1-0 friendly win over Czech Republic 18 months ago but hasn’t been invited to add to this sole cap since. A change in manager and shake up of players has provided him with another opportunity in a game hosted by his current club, Aberdeen.
McLean has recently informed manager Derek McInnes, pictured, that he won’t be signing a new contract. However, he has stressed that frustration at the lack of Scotland recognition was not behind his decision.
There is speculation linking the 25 year-old with a return to Rangers, where he was as a schoolboy. However, he doesn’t believe players performing with clubs based outwith the central belt are less likely to be noticed, even if Ryan Jack’s sudden promotion to the squad after joining the Ibrox club from Aberdeen hardly helped to scotch this suspicion.
“Not at all, because you need to put that down to yourself,” said McLean. “If I was doing enough I’d have been involved. There were players in the country who were doing more than me. They were getting picked and you need to look at yourself.”
“It’s how you’re doing,” he stressed. “If you’re doing enough you’ll get noticed. If you’re standing out then you’ll get the recognition. There have been arguments [about missing players] in recent squads but there have been players involved who are playing in the top leagues in England and it’s an honour to be involved this time.”
Unlike Jack, who left Aberdeen in less than harmonious circumstances, McLean can expect a good reception at Pittodrie, even if his own future is now unclear. He has vowed to keep giving his best for Aberdeen until the time comes that he is no longer contracted to them. McLean is confident the Pittodrie club’s fans will stick by him.
“It’s down to me,” he said. “If I keep doing well it’ll be fine, if I come off it people will think my head’s elsewhere. I’ve spoken to the manager at length about it. He knows where I’m at and the club know I’ll give everything when selected.”
Jack, he concedes, could be subject to some unflattering comments on Thursday night.
“Jacko knows it won’t be a great reception when he goes back, not from everyone anyway,” he said. “But he’ll be able to handle that. He’s playing at a massive club now and he’ll be used to expectations. He’s representing his country and he’ll do as well as he can and have to deal with it.”
McLean has made no other plans for his future other than let Aberdeen know he will not be signing an extension to his contract, which expires this summer.
“I’ve not looked that far ahead,” he said. “Being involved here is an honour to represent your country.
“You don’t want to look too far ahead. My focus is on Aberdeen and will be until the last day of the season. What happens after that, I don’t know. There’s been no decisions made and there won’t be. I’ll work as hard as I can till then.”
McLean will travel back up to Aberdeen tomorrow with the squad and hopes, along with team-mates Ryan Christie and Graeme Shinnie, also members of the Scotland party, to find McInnes still in situ at Pittodrie as manager.
Speculation is intensifying that McInnes could be about to move to Rangers, to succeed Pedro Caixinha.
“That gets put to one side for the Aberdeen boys,” he said. “We can’t think about other things. There’s been a lot of speculation but as far as we’re concerned it’s business as usual.”