For­mer Cathkin High pupil in na­tional squad

Rutherglen Reformer - - The Back Page - Mur­ray Spooner

Cam­bus­lang man Kenny McLean spoke of his de­light af­ter he was named in the Scot­land squad for next week’s friendly clash against the Czech Re­pub­lic.

The 24-year-old Aberdeen mid­fielder is hop­ing to claim his first se­nior cap for his coun­try when he trav­els to Prague on Thurs­day, March 24.

McLean has al­ready rep­re­sented Scot­land at un­der 19 and 21 level but was grate­ful of man­ager Gor­don Stra­chan’s de­ci­sion to in­clude him in the 16-man squad.

The for­mer Cathkin High pupil spoke ex­clu­sively to the Re­former this week on how he was feel­ing about one of the big­gest mo­ments of his ca­reer.

He said: “I heard about it the day be­fore but it was never con­firmed un­til the squad was ac­tu­ally an­nounced. I was train­ing when it was con­firmed and when you see that, you are priv­i­leged.

“It’s great for my­self be­ing in the squad and go­ing to Prague, hope­fully I’ll get some game time.

“I’m ob­vi­ously very happy with the call-up. It’s a big mo­ment for any­body to get called up for their coun­try so it’s nice to see the hard work I’ve been do­ing through­out the sea­son has been pay­ing off.

“It’s some­thing that I’m look­ing for­ward to and I’ll en­joy it I’m sure.”

Hav­ing al­ready played for his coun­try at dif­fer­ent age groups, McLean has come across some of the play­ers who were also in­cluded in the two squads Stra­chan had picked for the friendlys against the Czech Re­pub­lic and Den­mark.

But McLean was first to ad­mit that he did not know many of his new Scot­land team mates who will join him in the Sta­dion Letnà next week.

He added: “I don’t know too many of the boys in the squad. I’ve ob­vi­ously played against a few of them.

“Tony Watt is in my squad and I played with him in the Un­der 21s as well as Andy Robert­son who I’ve played with.

“I’m sure I’ll get to know more of the boys.

“I’ve never had a con­ver­sa­tion with the man­ager or came across him but I’ll be look­ing for­ward to meet­ing him and see­ing what they do at this level.

“I’m very grate­ful for Gor­don giv­ing me the call-up.”

The for­mer St Mir­ren man has helped his Aberdeen side in their pur­suit for the Scot­tish Premier League ti­tle who cur­rently sit a point be­hind lead­ers Celtic with eight games re­main­ing.

He has played in ev­ery one of the Dons’ league games this sea­son in­clud­ing Satur­day’s 2-1 vic­tory over Kil­marnock to keep them in the chase at the top of the Lad­brokes Premier­ship.

McLean said: “I think the be­lief has got to be there when you are sit­ting a point off the top of the league. It’s nowhere near im­pos­si­ble and it’s very much on.

“We are con­fi­dent we can go from now un­til the end of the sea­son and win the ma­jor­ity of games, if not all of them.

“We will take it game by game just now but we can def­i­nitely push Celtic all the way that’s for sure.

“The game against Mother­well this week­end will be sim­i­lar to Satur­day’s. They won’t make it easy for us.

“They’re fight­ing for ev­ery point and push­ing for the top six which is great for them con­sid­er­ing the po­si­tion that they were in.

“We’ll be con­fi­dent and look­ing to take three points but it’s go­ing to be tough and at this stage in the sea­son it’s all about grind­ing re­sults out.”

Call-up Kenny McLean

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