Departing Aberdeen midfielder Kenny McLean insists he is leaving a better player than when he arrived after helping the Dons finish runners-up in Scottish Premiership for the fourth season in a row.
McLean, who joined Norwich City in January before being sent back to Aberdeen on loan for the rest of the campaign, signed off on his three-and-a-half year spell at Pittodrie by helping his team inflict the first domestic home defeat on Celtic under Brendan Rodgers last Sunday.
The win for the Dons ensured they finish second and the Dons will enter the Europa League at the second qualifying round if the Hoops beat Motherwell in the Scottish Cup final today. Well can demote the Dons to the first qualifying round if they pull off an upset at Hampden today to deny the Hoops a back-to-back treble.
He said: “The last few years have been excellent. We’ve finished second every season I’ve been here which, considering the budget and resources Celtic have is fantastic, and is no mean feat.
“We were doubted this season by a lot of people so to finish the way we did is excellent. There’s a strong squad at the club and I’m leaving a better player than when I arrived.
“I have come on so much as a player and a person. I will always keep an eye out and wish the club all the best.”
McLean played a key role in the final day drama for his club as it was his solo run and defence-splitting pass which created the opportunity for team-mate Andy Considine to score the only goal of the game.
The former St Mirren captain was delighted to be able to go out on a high with the Dons.
He said: “As soon as were knocked out of the Scottish Cup the league was our focus and to go to Celtic and get the win when the stakes were so high was excellent and the perfect way for me to go out.
“Andy has been at this club for years and there was no one more deserving of getting the goal than him. I was so pleased for him but it was a great team performance.”
McLean’s departure will create a void in the Dons midfield but the Scotland international believes under-20 captain Dean Campbell, who came on as a substitute at Parkhead, is capable of stepping up next term.
He said: “There are places up for grabs and Dean is one for the future. With me leaving there is a place up for grabs there.
“He showed so much composure when he came on and, while I don’t want to put pressure on him, he needs to come back in pre-season and work hard for his chance. He’s been training with the first team for a while and there is a massive opportunity for him and I’ve no doubt he will take it.”