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Aberdeen defender Jack MacKenzie lifts the lid on his six month injury nightmare

Aberdeen left-back Jack MacKenzie in action in the1-0 defeat of Dundee.
Aberdeen left-back Jack MacKenzie in action in the1-0 defeat of Dundee.

Aberdeen left-back Jack MacKenzie hopes a six month injury nightmare is finally behind him.

The 21-year-old played a key role in the 1-0 defeat of Dundee that all but killed off the threat of being dragged into a relegation play-off.

It was only the defender’s fourth start since October last year.

MacKenzie revealed his injury hell saw him suffer problems with his hip, ankles and calf.

The defender says as he began to recover from one problem he would “break down with something else.”

Now he is fully fit and ready to help Aberdeen finish the season with a winning run.

Aberdeen’s Jack MacKenzie during the 1-0 defeat of Aberdeen.

He said: “It’s been massively frustrating.

“I was really enjoying it at the start then about October I broke down.

“I didn’t really get going again until a couple of weeks ago.

“It’s been a nightmare six months but that’s all behind me now and I can push on.

“There were loads of different things.

“My hip, my ankle, wee niggles here and there in my calf, things like that.

“I just felt as though I couldn’t get up to speed and I’d break down with something else.”

Jack Mackenzie of Aberdeen challenges for the ball with Cammy Kerr of Dundee

Frustration at being on the sidelines

MacKenzie was a regular starter at the beginning of the season until his injury problems hit.

He was sidelined for five weeks before making a comeback in a 1-0 defeat at Dundee United on November 20.

However MacKenzie’s injury nightmare struck again at Tannadice and he was substituted at half-time.

He would not feature again until coming on as a late substitute in February.

The defeat of Dundee was the second successive game MacKenzie has started.

Aberdeen manager Jim Goodwin after the 1-0 defeat of bottom side Dundee.

MacKenzie said: “You get a taste for it. Being from Aberdeen, I was loving it.

“And then having to watch from the sidelines was really frustrating.

“I had to re-evaluate different things because it wasn’t working.

“I did that and it took myself about four weeks to get up to speed and now I’m seeing the benefit of that.

“I’ve absolutely loved it recently being back in for the last couple of games.

“I struggled a wee bit with injuries this season and that they’ve all cleared I’m getting a run in the team.”

Win ‘takes a bit of the pressure off’

Aberdeen effectively eradicated the relegation play-off threat by beating Dundee.

The Reds are eight points ahead of 11th placed St Johnstone who occupy the play-off spot, with only three games remaining.

Aberdeen also have a far superior goal difference.

Lewis Ferguson celebrates making it 1-0 by slamming the ball into the net after converting a penalty.

He said: “I’d say there is relief and joy.

“Especially after the poor result last week (2-1 loss to Livingston).

“We had to put that right. We didn’t really care about the performance, it was just about getting the three points.

“We ground it out in the end. We’re  delighted and it takes a bit of the pressure off.”

‘We can’t take our foot off the gas’

Scotland international Lewis Ferguson netted a penalty in the 73rd minute to secure the vital three points.

A vital win but MacKenzie accepts the Reds are still not mathematically safe from the play-off threat.

He warns there can be no let up.

Cammy Kerr and Johnny Hayes battle for possession at Pittodrie.

MacKenzie said: “It was a step forward.

“We’ve got three games to come.

“We’re not safe yet mathematically, we can’t take our foot off the gas.

“Now we just need to keep going.”

Build momentum for next season

The defeat of Dundee represented the Dons’ first Premiership clean sheet of 2022.

Aberdeen’s previous league shut out was in December 11 last year.

Penalty shout for Aberdeen as Jack McKenzie goes down under a challenge from Cammy Kerr.

MacKenzie said: “Our clean sheet record this season has been terrible.

“We’re delighted to get that but the most important thing was the three points so we’re all pretty happy.

“We can take momentum into next season.

“You don’t want the season to end by petering out.”

Aberdeen were incensed when not awarded a penalty in the second half by referee Willie Collum when MacKenzie was brought down in the box.

MacKenzie said: “I thought the one on myself was a stone-waller.

“The referee didn’t give it but he gave us one later on. We’ll take that.”

Aberdeen players surround Willie Collum calling for a penalty after Jack MacKenzie was brought down.

No panic from Aberdeen at half-time

Aberdeen keeper Joe Lewis made two vital blocks in the first half to keep the score level at 0-0 at the break.

MacKenzie insists at half-time the Reds remained calm despite the pressure of a must win game against the Premiership’s bottom side.

Aberdeen left-back Jack McKenzie goes up against Dundee’s Paul McGowan in Premiership action.

He said: “It was a really frustrating first half but we couldn’t start to panic.

“We had to be wary because we knew they needed a win as well.

“We just had to manage their counter attacks and stay on the front foot.

“Once we got the goal, it was a case of locking the back door and not letting them have any chances.”

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