Kenny McLean has achieved his first goal of forcing his way into the Scotland squad. Now it is time for stage two.
The Aberdeen midfielder is one of three Aberdeen players named in Alex McLeish’s first Squad squad for the friendlies against Costa Rica and Hungary this month and having impressed in the friendly defeat to the Netherlands in November the on-loan Norwich City player is now focused on breaking into the international team on a regular basis.
He said: “This is what I wanted, to get in the squad and stay in it. I played in the last game here and did myself justice and I’ve been performing pretty well in the last couple of months.
“It is a big squad and there will be a lot of players involved but if I can be involved in the games that would be great.
“It is up to me to go and impress the manager and do all I can to be in his plans for the future. To be chosen at this stage is excellent but it is only the beginning of the hard work and it is up to myself to keep performing.
“I’m sure the manager will have his way he wants to play and the players he wants to play it with but it is up to me to force my way into his team and into his thinking for future teams, qualifiers and championships.”
McLean knows performances for his country will not be enough, however, with the need to maintain his excellent consistency at Pittodrie just as crucial.
The former St Mirren captain’s Aberdeen career is winding down as he will move to Norwich in the summer but McLean is determined to go out on a high with the Dons by lifting the Scottish Cup.
He said: Everyone wants the last game of the season to be cup final and I’m on different.
“We ran Celtic close last season but we came away with nothing; that’s how I look at it. It was great to get there and a good occasion but we didn’t win so that’s it.
“We want to remember the ones we win and that’s why we are determined to get back there.”
Kilmarnock stand between the Dons and a place in the semi-final tonight at Rugby Park.
The two sides shared the spoils in a 1-1 draw at Pittodrie earlier this month and Killie’s recent form has them installed as favourites for tonight’s replay.
McLean, however, is confident his side can set-up a Hampden semi-final date with Motherwell.
He said: “Form goes out the window in cup football. You are in or you are out.
“If we are underdogs that suits us I suppose. Kilmarnock have been on an excellent run but we have players who can hurt them and personally I believe if we are right we can hurt them.”