Scott Wright is relieved a season of injury heartache is finally behind him as he has become a pivotal cog in Aberdeen’s winning run.
The 23-year-old suffered two devastating set backs last season that wiped out his campaign.
First he sustained cruciate ligament damage in an innocuous training incident last September that required surgery. The initial prognosis was that Wright’s season was over.
Wright and the club’s head of medical and football science Adam Stokes had other ideas and were convinced months could be shaved off the return time to save his season. They were right.
After a gruelling rehab Wright was set to make a comeback in March – only for football to be shutdown due to the coronavirus outbreak just days before.
Now Wright is in fine form and aims to help shock Portuguese giants Sporting CP away in the Europa League third qualifying round on Thursday.
First though the target is extending a winning steak to seven games when hosting Motherwell tomorrow.
Wright said: “I had a difficult time last season. I felt I was going to break in only to get the bad injury.
“We knew straight away it was going to be a long time out so I processed it quite quickly that match days were going to be a totally different experience.
“It was just frustrating watching, knowing I could influence games and just wanting to be involved. The medical staff, team-mates and management team were great with me as they all kept me involved and kept me right.”
Against the odds Wright was on schedule to return for the final three months of the season – only for football to shut down.
He said: “That was frustrating as we managed to shave a lot of time off the rehab which we had been confident of doing.
“We had obviously spoken about it being season over but myself and Adam Stokes were fairly confident I would be back.
“I was going to play a reserve game in the international break but then the boys came back from Motherwell (March 13, cancelled due to Covid-19 outbreak) saying the coronavirus had happened and it was all shutdown.
“After all the hard work I had done in rehab I wanted to come back to show the manager what I could do. In the long run though it probably wasn’t the worst thing for me as it meant I could get my fitness right back up.
“It put me on more of a level playing field with the rest of the lads as they had just as long a lay off due to the Covid lockdown as I did.”
Wright has been one of the star performers for Aberdeen in the six-game winning run.
He netted a superb goal in the 2-1 defeat of Livingston and has vowed to add goals to his game.
He was one-on-one with the keeper against both Viking FK (2-0 win) and Kilmarnock (1-0 win) but his shots were saved.
He said: “More goals is something I’ve been needing to add to my game. I’m getting into positions – some of them are going in and some of them aren’t.
“All I can do is keep working hard at training and the goals will eventually fall for me.”
Aberdeen go into tomorrow’s game buoyant as victory in Norway against Viking extended the winning streak to six games.
Wright is determined to keep that momentum going ahead of the trip to Lisbon.
He said: “The run is tremendous and just shows the team spirit we have. A lot of the boys are enjoying their football at the minute and long may it continue.”
Wright has forged a strong understanding with Ryan Hedges this season with the two combining with quick one-twos and movement in attack.
Hedges netted the second goal against Viking direct from a corner. He may not have meant to score but Wright praised the high standard of the delivery.
He said: “I asked him after the game of he meant it and he said ‘not at all’.
“It was a great delivery, to be fair. I think the goalie thought he was gong to try and float it but he’s just whipped it and it’s dropped over his head and into the back of the net. I’m buzzing for him.
“I can’t remember if that’s happened before in a game I’ve played in. I know Barry Robson did it. Baz was obviously speaking about it on Thursday night saying that Ryan had joined an exclusive club.
“I actually couldn’t believe it when it went in. I thought someone might have got a touch on it but having seen it back it just went straight in.”