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Kenny McLean: ‘Embrace the expectation and relish chance to be winners’

Kenny McLean celebrates
Kenny McLean celebrates

Aberdeen midfielder Kenny McLean is confident he and his teammates can rise to the great expectations around Pittodrie.

While they enjoyed a fruitful league campaign as Celtic’s closest challengers, the Dons fell at the first hurdle in both the League Cup and the Scottish Cup last season.

McLean knows exits to Edinburgh rivals Hibernian and Hearts last year was not good enough.

The Aberdeen players will try to put that right when they travel to Somerset Park to face Championship side Ayr United in the last 16 of the Betfred Cup this evening.

Aberdeen reached the League Cup semi-finals in 2015 and won the competition in two years ago – and McLean is determined to bring more silverware to the club.

He said: “At a club of this size, the demands and expectation levels are always going to be high.

“We have got to put ourselves in the position to win cups and last year we know it wasn’t good enough.

“We came up way short. We were well off it so this season we need to start really well in the cups.

“We should be getting to finals and winning cups. We know we are good enough to do that.

“It is about having the right mindset and it won’t be easy against Ayr.

“We will be expected to win, which can be tough. Ayr don’t have much pressure on them so we need to prepare properly.

“From the supporters to the manager, the expectation levels are high. Everyone is pulling in the same direction and wants the same things.

“It is up to the players to put things right and hopefully bring trophies to the club, which the supporters deserve.”

Tonight’s match will be Aberdeen’s third game in less than a week following last Thursday’s draining 1-0 defeat against Maribor in the Europa League in Slovenia and Sunday’s goalless draw against St Johnstone in the opening round of fixtures in the Scottish Premiership.

However McLean feels confident there is no chance fatigue could start creeping into the Aberdeen performance after a hectic early season schedule.

He said: “We did everything we could to prepare correctly for the St Johnstone game and the performance was decent enough.

“We were unlucky in Maribor and we put in a decent performance at St Johnstone, which is not an easy place to go to.

“A point is not always a bad result, especially at a venue as tough as McDiarmid Park.

“We have been up and running for a while and the performance levels have been good, but we know we can get better.”

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