Aberdeen boss Derek McInnes was delighted to see Kenny McLean respond to his Scotland disappointment with a man-of-the-match performance in the 2-0 win over Hearts.
The midfielder brushed off mi ssing out on a place in Gordon Strachan’s national squad to inspire the Dons to victory at Pittodrie on Saturday.
McLean ran the show in midfield, combining his passing prowess with a steely determination to close down his opponents, and deservedly walked off with the sponsor’s champagne.
McInnes said: “We spoke about it before the game. It was important for Kenny to demonstrate the same level of performance, and certainly the same approach to the game.
“Kenny was playing in a high gear today. He was pressing, running beyond the strikers, crossing and shooting. He’s done everything but score.
“He was disappointed, but he’s channeled it in the right way.”
Hearts’ management structure came in for some attention during and after the game, with Ian Cathro having to answer questions as to his credibility after coach Jon Daly was seen passing messages to the dugout from director of football Craig Levein.
Levein was also seen to enter the dressing room at half-time, raising questions about his influence, and the role of head coach Cathro.
Cathro said: “One of the positive things about the club is there’s a lot of people engaged in it, good staff and good coaches. I involve them in our work through the week. I like to train with a lot of coaches.
“We’re involved in this together and we work together. I’ve always worked in a situation where we have one member of our staff in the stand who understands the game plan.
“That person has the responsibility to me, to keep an active dialogue and look at what I’ve asked them to. That’s completely normal.
“I understand that this wants to be part of today’s story, but it’s completely normal.
“I rely on the experience of everybody involved in the situation. We work together, and we vary the coach in the stand. They work for me, and they do things asked of them by me.”