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Return to Ibrox for MacLean

STEVEN MacLean sat in the stands at Tynecastle and endured the taunts of the fans who used to support him, writes Stewart Fisher.

Apart from that, however, the 31-year-old striker was relatively unscarred by the events which unfolded in the 4-0 League Cup semi-final defeat to Aberdeen in February.

MacLean spent six months on loan at Pittodrie from Plymouth Argyle under Mark McGhee during the 2009-10 season, his five goals in 15 league starts enough, rather amazingly, to make him the club's SPL top scorer. But his recent return after injury could provide an interesting variable to the Perth side's revenge mission in the last four of the Scottish Cup.

"It was awful that day," MacLean recalled. "To lose a goal so early and then go on to lose 4-0 ... it just wasn't good. I was also sitting beside Aberdeen fans and they were hanging over the top of us all. I got a bit of stick but you just need to take it. This game on Sunday is not about revenge - it's about doing it for ourselves and the club.

"I actually managed to do well at Aberdeen," he added. "I played 15 games and scored a few goals. I think I finished top scorer. It wasn't a great season, it was a struggling team.

"But it's a big club and Derek [McInnes] and Tony [Docherty] are doing a great job there. It's good for Scottish football to have a strong Aberdeen. This is the hardest game we could have got from the semi-final draw."

MacLean had the role of unused substitute for Rangers in the 2003 Scottish Cup final win against Dundee, but he never started a match for his first club.

His old stomping ground may be less than half full today, but the prospect is still exciting. "I'm looking forward to Ibrox, it's a great venue," added MacLean. "It's been a while since I played there. Last time was for Aberdeen against Rangers and we lost 2-1."

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