McInnes hopes McKenna’s re­cur­ring in­jury has been put to rest

The Press and Journal (Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire) - - SPORT - BY PAUL THIRD

Aberdeen man­ager Derek McInnes hopes pa­tience can pay off with per­for­mances from Scott McKenna.

The Dons de­lib­er­ately slowed the de­fender’s re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion from a ham­string strain suf­fered in Au­gust, his third in 12 months, in the hope a grad­ual re­cov­ery would pay off in the long term both for the player and the club.

With McKenna set to make his fifth ap­pear­ance in a row at Ross County to­mor­row, the Dons boss is op­ti­mistic the re­cur­ring is­sue has been put to rest.

He said: “We took a bit longer with the ham­string in­jury this time. It was much to my dis­ap­point­ment but hav­ing sat down with the med­i­cal staff we de­cided to take the longer route.

“We prob­a­bly could have got him back ear­lier. I was keen for him to come back for the Hearts and Rangers games.

“He was on the cusp of that and if he had done his re­hab in a cer­tain way he would have been back, but we felt the longer term route was more ben­e­fi­cial for Scott and our­selves.

“We made a col­lec­tive de­ci­sion to go with a longer re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion so we could break down the scar­ring from pre­vi­ous in­juries so it was less likely he would suf­fer a re­cur­rence.

“It didn’t help me be­cause I could have been do­ing with him but for the longer term hope­fully we can now see Scott get­ting a run at it.

“He can still get in­juries else­where but we are a lot more con­fi­dent the ham­string will be a bit more ro­bust.”

“You can why peo­ple will see him as a main­stay”

McKenna’s re­turn to reg­u­lar duty has led to him re­ceiv­ing a re­call to the Scot­land squad for the fi­nal Euro 2020 qual­i­fy­ing games against Cyprus and Kaza­khstan.

McInnes is de­lighted to see the player get­ting back to his best as he pre­pares to join up with Steve Clarke’s squad next week.

He said: “His age is good and he is only go­ing to get bet­ter and you can see why he is so highly-rated and why so many peo­ple will see him as a main­stay of the na­tional team.

“It is en­cour­ag­ing for Scott that the last two man­agers have seen some­thing in him. He is nat­u­rally left-sided which is a bonus and he is a phys­i­cal de­fender who can deal with that side of the game and he can also run like the wind so those things are a good make-up for a cen­tre back.

“Peo­ple can see a good player and other than the in­juries and his sea­son be­ing a bit stop-start he has still put in a lot of big per­for­mances for us.

“There is still room for im­prove­ment and we speak to Scott reg­u­larly and there are one or two things he can do bet­ter.”

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