I belong at international level – Dons star McLean

Pictured are Scotland's Kenny McLean and Holland's Quincy Promes. Picture by DARRELL BENNS

Aberdeen’s Kenny McLean reckons he belongs at international level.

The Dons midfielder won his second cap for Scotland in last night’s 1-0 defeat to the Netherlands at Pittodrie.

The Scots were bright for most of the game, but were defeated by a Memphis Depay goal shortly before half-time.

McLean and Reds team-mate Ryan Christie both played the full 90 minutes against the Dutch as interim manager Malky Mackay named an experimental team.

However, Dons skipper Graeme Shinnie did not get off the bench.

For McLean, his second cap was a long time coming after winning his first in March 2016 under Gordon Strachan in a friendly against the Czech Republic. Now that he’s added to his tally, he is aiming for more and believes he is good enough for international football.

He said: “It was excellent to be involved and it’s something I want more of.

“To enjoy it at Pittodrie made it even more special.

“I think I do enough to merit playing at this level and I just need to keep working hard at Aberdeen and putting performances in there and hopefully I get recognised by the international manager, whoever it is.”

McLean believes his performance may help him get selected again in the future by Strachan’s replacement.

He added: “You just need to give everything when you pull this jersey on. “It means so much to everyone, so you just have to give everything.

“I think we should be really excited with the squad we have got.

“Whoever it is, and if I keep doing what I’m doing at Aberdeen, then hopefully I’ll get the recognition.”

On the night the Scots created plenty of opportunities but just couldn’t take one of the them.

Depay’s strike was the only time the Dark Blues were carved open by the Dutch.

McLean felt the Scots were unlucky and could easily have earned at least a draw on another night. He said: “It was a tough game, but it was one that was good to be involved in against a very good team.

“I think we were pretty unlucky not to get anything with the chances that were created.

“I don’t think Craig Gordon had much to do in our goal.

“We could have had a draw. The chances we created were excellent and that’s maybe the only disappointment, that we didn’t take one of the chances across the team. “But they are a top team and we had one lapse in concentration, one mistake and they punish you for it and that’s what happens.”

McLean did feel the match against the likes of Manchester United’s Daley Blind and Southampton’s Virgil Van Dijk was a step up from club football.

But it was a step up that he feels he and the rest of the Scotland side handled comfortably.

The 25-year-old said: “You’re playing against top quality European players who are excellent, but at times against teams like that it’s all about the discipline and the tactics. I think at times we were excellent.”

His only game in charge, Mackay named a young squad for the friendly.

Christie, Celtic’s Callum McGregor, former Don Ryan Jack and Jason Cummings of Nottingham Forest all won their first caps.

Kieran Tierney of Celtic captained the side aged just 20. After Strachan used largely the same group of tried and tested players, a new generation of Scotland inter-nationals may be emerging.

McLean believes that a new generation of inter-nationalists are coming through and also thinks that it augurs well for Scottish football.

He said: “It was a young squad and I think the fans should be excited for the future with the squad that has been put out. “And if you look at the future with the bench as well it was a really young squad and it is exciting for the future of Scottish football.”