Aberdeen winger Gary Mackay-Steven has thanked Derek McInnes for resurrecting his international career.
Mackay-Steven has been one of Aberdeen’s most impressive players this season with five goals in 15 games.
He was recalled to the Scotland squad last month and won his second cap as a substitute against Portugal – five years after making his international debut against the United States.
His form in between Scotland squads has been good enough to warrant Alex McLeish keeping him in and Mackay-Steven hopes he can carry his Dons form into Scotland colours.
The 28-year-old believes he has become a more complete player since joining Aberdeen last year.
He said: “I’m feeling good, scoring goals. Coming here is a great opportunity and I’m really happy to be part of the squad.
“There’s always pressure but it’s how you deal with it and take it in. I feel great at Aberdeen and enjoy the responsibility of being a player to create and score goals.
“I feel comfortable and I’m just enjoying my football. I’m looking to impress for Scotland this week.
“I’ve added different things to my game over the years. At Aberdeen there’s also an emphasis on defence. Derek has brought that side into my game and I’m thankful for that.”
The former Ross County and Dundee United midfielder, who joined the Dons from Celtic, is out of contract in the summer and as yet, there have been no discussions about extending his stay at Pittodrie.
Mackay-Steven said: “All I’m doing is thinking about the next game. I’m sure there will be a time when I sit down with the manager and talk. It’s not happened yet but I’m certain it will happen in the future.”
Mackay-Steven is a true Highlander and remains connected to his Thurso roots, even if his career his taken him hundreds of miles away.
He added: “There are a lot of Scotland fans where I’m from and they go to the games, although I don’t think there will be any in Albania. Maybe there will be a few.
“But there’s a bus that goes to all the home games. Quite possibly there will be a few guys going who went to the pub I once worked in, the Newmarket. There aren’t too many pubs up there, it’s a small community.
“Everyone will be looking out for Scotland games. I’ve still got family there, my Dad’s still in Thurso, while I’ve got a lot of my friends. I don’t get up all that much but I still speak a lot to people.”
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