Why Peter Leven is so important to Aberdeen and what senior pros said to Fletcher Boyd before Hibs

Caretaker manager has Dons going in right direction

After a difficult season, Aberdeen are finishing with a flourish.

Now unbeaten in their past seven Premiership matches under caretaker manger Peter Leven, the goal now is to finish seventh after missing out on the top six. Sunday’s 4-0 win over Hibs was a reminder of the potential within the Dons squad, and will have surely given onlooking manager Jimmy Thelin food for though as he prepares to take over in June. In the immediate term, though, Leighton Clarkson is enjoying life under Leven, who is expected to remain part of the Swede’s backroom team. Clarkson opened the scoring at Easter Road and is thriving under the former MK Dons playmaker.

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“We went to Hibs on a good run of form and were confident,” said Clarkson. “We saw the pitch and it was perfect to go play our football and a clean sheet and four goals is great. Pete has been telling me to shoot a lot more. I scored some good goals last year and this year it has just not quite clicked. I don’t shoot enough. He told me that before the game and I had an opportunity and put it away. Since Pete has been in he has given me the licence to go and express myself. There have been times this season where it has been a bit restrictive. He has completely given the confidence back into me.

Clarkson opened the scoring with this effort against Hibs.Clarkson opened the scoring with this effort against Hibs.
Clarkson opened the scoring with this effort against Hibs.

“As a squad against Hibs I thought everyone to a man was confident and played well. We are on a good run of form and the best we can give the fans is a bit of joy and a bit of excitement going into the new season. We still have two games remaining and we want to win both to finish on a high, then enjoy our rest and go again.”

Clarkson was quick to sing the praises of Leven, who has picked up the pieces at Pittodrie in the wake of both Barry Robson and Neil Warnock leaving. “Pete has done a brilliant job,” said the former Liverpool youngster. “It is so hard to come in after the other managers and it’s probably the worst time to try to pick the lads up. He has given us that platform to go and express ourselves. We have really good players in this squad and we showed it against Hibs.

“It is really important Peter will be here next season under the new manager. He has done so much for the boys and is always the last one still on the training pitch. Even at the start of the season when he wasn’t manager he was always doing extra work with the boys and trying to develop players. He is big on that and he has put his stamp on the game and how he wants to play.

“I thought we perfected that excellently against Hibs. Peter always helped me with free-kicks and things like that. He gives his time into making us better players. We are doing it for him.”

Aberdeen caretaker boss Peter Leven has been encouraging Leighton Clarkson to shoot more.Aberdeen caretaker boss Peter Leven has been encouraging Leighton Clarkson to shoot more.
Aberdeen caretaker boss Peter Leven has been encouraging Leighton Clarkson to shoot more.

It was also a special day for Aberdeen youngster Fletcher Boyd, who came on a substitute and became the Dons’ youngster-ever goalscorer at 16 years and 107 days old by netting in stoppage time. “Fletcher is such a great kid,” added Clarkson. “He came in today and looked a little bit shy but we all put our arm around him. I said to him before he went on just go express yourself and be confident. That’s what he did.

“The fans helped him as well as they were chanting his name for the majority of the last 10 minutes. And the goal was the cherry on the cake for him at the end. I have seen glimpses of Fletcher all through the year when he has been training with us and he is a good talent. And he is only 16-years-old. He couldn’t have asked for a better day and his family must be so proud of him.”



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