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Scott McKenna Feature

October 9, 2018 5:31 pm Author: RedMatchday Editor (Malcolm Panton)

 

It’s almost exactly a year since Scott McKenna came back into the first team starting XI for a game against Motherwell at Fir Park.

The 12 months since then have been an extraordinary ride for Scott, from the sidelines to captaining his country.

Through it all, he has shown remarkable maturity, taking everything that has been thrown at him in his giant stride.

The youngster is hugely popular around Pittodrie and before he headed off to join up with the Scotland squad, he sat down and spoke to RedTV to reflect on an amazing career to date, starting with more recent events:

 

TWO GAME BAN

“I am extremely disappointed that I am going to miss two games when at the time there was not even a free kick awarded against me. To get a phone call from the manager a few days later to say that I had been given the ban, it was a shock.

“At the time I remember Leigh Griffiths turning and trying to play the ball into space so I came across. I believe I got to the ball clearly before Edouard and I got my foot on it. I am trying to clear the ball or hit it hard enough so if it does hit him he has no chance of controlling it and I think that is what happened.

“There was always going to be contact, whether I kicked the ball off him or not. To get a two game ban was disappointing when it was a genuine attempt to play the ball.

“The photo which everyone has seen was taken after I had made contact with the ball and Edouard. He made contract with my right leg which has swung me around so my body was in the air which made it look like a two footed lunge, but it was nothing like that at all.

“After coming back from injury it is frustrating to be sitting on the sidelines again. At the back you want to be as settled as you can so you can build partnerships and an understanding between the defenders. I think Mikey and I started the European games ok but then I got injured and missed about six weeks. Then I came back in and Mikey was suspended. We then had three games together and we were looking to build on that and we were getting better and better every game, but now there are changes again. Personally I am disappointed to be missing them, but we have the squad to cope.”

 

THE QUARTER FINAL

“The manager wanted us to practise penalties after training. You walk up as you would do in a game. I missed my first one so after all the boys had taken one I went up again. Tomas Cerny saved it again! Eventually with my third attempt I managed to score.

“At Easter Road the first five were taken and then Chris Forrester was sixth. The manager then wanted me to go seventh. I was surprised to be seventh and not tenth after my performance at training the day before! I began to realise that I was going to have to take one. The walk up was fine until I realised I had the list of penalty takers in my sock! I then felt it rub against my knee, but I thought I could not stop and fix this because it will look as though I am nervous, it is not going to look right.

“But at the back of mind I was thinking about the bit of paper!

“When I had been watching the other spot kicks I had been watching which way the keeper was going for the left footers. So, I decided to open up and go to his right and hit it as hard as I could. I was very relieved when it went in. The keeper went the right way but I managed to get enough power behind it to go past him.

“The manager is right, it is not down to luck. You need to be focussed and have the bottle to take it. And that is why we practise them. Thankfully the manager making me take three in training paid off for us.”

 

THE SEMI-FINAL

“I played last year in the Scottish Cup semi-final against Motherwell but this is a massive game. There will be a far bigger crowd with the rivalry between the two sides. It is a game I am really looking forward to. For now, I have the Scotland camp to look forward to but after that the semi-final will be where my focus is. I need to make sure I am as fit and as sharp as I can be for then.”

 

DEVLIN PARTNERSHIP

“The more games you play the stronger the partnership is going to get. I felt though after only a couple of games our performances together were positive and that gave us something to build on. We work really had on keeping cleansheets. That is our main focus.

“Mikey has a lot of strengths. He has obviously been a captain at Hamilton so he is very vocal. He is very good in the air. He is also a very good footballer.

“We both just try to help each other as much as we can. It does not matter how good a player you are, you are better in a partnership. He is always covering me and I will do the same for him. Hopefully it will make us both better players.

“I have taken money off his rent as he now cooks every night! So I sit with my feet up watching TV! We were doing night about, but he fancies himself as a bit of a chef. He is a bit better than me but I remind him the only reason for that is because he is older!”

 

DEADLINE DAY BID

“There had been offers earlier in the window but I thought they had passed by. I was injured at the time and I was not expecting anything to happen. I was not even thinking about it. Then on deadline day I had been doing some running at the Barracks and when I got back in my car there were some missed calls from my agent. I phoned him back and he said there had been an offer from another club, Aston Villa.

“The club decided to knock it back and it is fine. It was the last day of the window so it would have been difficult to get someone else in within that space of time. So I completely understand why they did it.

“But as I say I was injured and I was just fully focussed on getting back fit. A move was not at the forefront of my mind.

“The next day it was forgotten about. I was just trying to get myself back fit and getting back onto the field and playing again as soon as possible so I could help the team get some good results.

“Offers coming in like that are very flattering. If I keep playing well there will be more to come in the years ahead. If there is an offer that is right I will get a chance to move on but now I am fully focussed and enjoying playing for Aberdeen and wanting to be part of a successful team, winning trophies.”

 

THE PAST YEAR

“It has been a great year, but it is not something I think much about. You are always focusing on what is ahead. Occasionally I will reflect on what has happened to me, but you don’t get much time for that. The summer was quite short as I was away with Scotland and then we were back and preparing for the Burnley games and the Rangers game on the opening day of the season. So I am constantly looking forward and looking forward to the big games and wanting to play well in them.

“I don’t feel any added pressure this season. I have managed to play well this past year by being myself and by keeping my feet on the ground. Hopefully the more games I play the more I will learn and the better I will get. You are always trying to improve.

“There are areas I need to work on. I am always trying to add to my game, so every day I will keep working really hard in training. For example, my use of the ball could be better at times. But then I also need to remind myself that I am a defender and my distribution is not my main priority. If I keep the ball out of the net then I have done my main job.”

 

SCOTLAND

“I was extremely nervous the first time I went away with the Scotland squad. It was a bit of an unknown for me. But after the first few days I was fine. The second time we met up I felt far more comfortable going into that environment. I am sure it will be the same again this week. I have now played with most of the boys but there are a few I need to meet.

“International level is a different style of play. I think there is a greater need to concentrate on your organisation and stay in your shape – try and force the other team to play the way you want them to. If you go chasing about all over the park, then good teams will pop it round us. So you have to be very disciplined in your shape. You have to be patient when the other team have the ball. In the SPFL the game goes from end to end a lot quicker.

“Concentration is absolutely massive. If you switch off for a split second then you will be punished. But that is the same in most domestic games as well.

“Being in this environment will no doubt help make me a better player.”

The full interview will be available to watch on RedTV soon.

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