Steven MacLean: I knocked back other clubs to help Raith Rovers win promotion

Veteran striker Steven MacLean revealed he knocked back other clubs because he wants to help Raith Rovers club win promotion.
Steven MacLean made his Raith Rovers debut on Saturday. Credit- Fife Photo AgencySteven MacLean made his Raith Rovers debut on Saturday. Credit- Fife Photo Agency
Steven MacLean made his Raith Rovers debut on Saturday. Credit- Fife Photo Agency

The 37-year-old made his debut for the League One leaders in Saturday's 1-0 win over Airdrie after joining on loan from Hearts last Thursday.

When asked what attracted him to the Kirkcaldy club, the former St Johnstone man replied: "The manager.

"I spoke to him and he was keen for me to come.

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"Then a couple of things came up late, but I'm a man of my word so I phoned him and said I was coming.

"I'm looking forward to it and I'm excited about being here.

"I'm dropping down a couple of levels but we're top of the league and going for promotion, and I want to help.

"I've never had a promotion in Scotland so it will be nice for the CV.

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"Hopefully I can contribute and help the boys and manager get promotion."

MacLean played the full 90 minutes at the Penny Cars Stadium - his first action since December 21 after falling out of the first team picture at Tynecastle following the arrival of manager Daniel Stendel.

"The new manager came in and I played the first three games," he said.

"We never won, but he singled me out and said I was his best player for the three games.

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"He brought some new players and wants to play a way that he feels I'm probably not suited to, but I got on really well with him.

"We share the same beliefs, his training is excellent, and I really liked him.

"We had a good conversation, there were never any cross words, and I've got a good relationship with him.

"He said if I wanted to go play then Hearts would help me get somebody. They did and now I'm here."

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MacLean admitted he was impressed with his new team mates in Saturday's victory.

"It was hard fought," he said. "It would have been nice to score on my debut but when you get to my age you know what football is all about.

"It's all about performances and the team winning, and it's a great result.

"When you're going for league titles and promotion, which I've done in England, there's different ways to win football games.

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"You're going to play well in games, but you're going to have spells where you just have to dig in, and we did both.

"I did some research before I came, watched some clips on Youtube and spoke to Steven Anderson - he'd put you to sleep though!

"So I knew they were a good football side but we showed the other side and dug in as well, and put bodies on the line.

"They're all big games now, and when you're at the top of the league you're there to be shot at, but it's something to embrace and enjoy."

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MacLean also addressed the concerns surrounding his fitness to play an astroturf, with seven out of 10 pitches in League One played on artificial surface, including his new home at Stark's Park.

"I had knee issues in the past and when I was at St Johnstone the manager Tommy Wright said I was getting a week off when we played on astro," he explained.

"It was just to look after me - he wanted me to play for as long as I could in my career.

"When I went to Hearts the first five games out of eight were on astroturf, and Craig Levein asked if I could play on astro.

"I said 'yes', and ever since then it's been fine.

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"The astro here (Airdrie) is not the best but the one at Stark's Park is excellent. It's like a bowling green, and I was really impressed with that on Thursday.

"If they're all like that I'll be alright, but I can play on them no problem."

Rovers victory moved them three points clear at the top of the standings after Falkirk's draw at bottom of the table Stranraer.