NOT many have been as unfortunate with injuries as Scott McKenna.

The Aberdeen and Scotland defender has suffered a number of hamstring problems in recent times and he admits himself that the weakness has wreaked havoc on his footballing career.

Luckily for Pittodrie manager Derek McInnes, the injury torment that McKenna has endured is probably the only reason why he is still a Dons player.

But now with a full pre-season behind him and a plan in place to nurture his hamstring, the big central defender is aiming to put his injury woes behind him this term.

“I want to stay fit and be more robust.  I can’t keep breaking down every 10-15 games with my hamstrings,” he said.

“I just want to be fit and play as many games as I can.

“I have sat down with the physios, sport scientists and the medical team to put a plan together so I can get into the gym to keep up my strength work.

“Even if we have two or three games a week, I need to find ways to get into the gym at the right time to do the right exercises because I can’t keep doing what I have been doing before because I kept breaking down.

“Maybe, if I am not getting enough out of training I might need to do some more high-speed work just to keep on top of things. 

“That is why we have sat down and put this plan together that will hopefully keep me fit.”

McKenna concedes that he has entered the field of play with the fear that his hamstring could go at any moment after tearing it on three previous occasions.

But after racking up 90 minutes against Rangers on Saturday and performing in a couple of pre-season games before that, the 23-year-old says he is beginning to trust his body again.

Asked if he still worries about pulling-up, he continued: “I did but I have played three or four 90 minutes now and I am starting to get the confidence back. 

“I will also get that fitness and sharpness as well as the weeks go on and I can get my performance levels back up.

“I have a real weakness. I have torn my left hamstring twice or three times because the last time it had two tears in it. 

“I have also torn the right one so there is a weakness there and I need to stay on top of things, maybe more than the other lads. 

“When boys are in the gym I maybe need to look at working on my hamstrings to make sure they are feeling good.

“There is nothing more frustrating than the injuries.  Everything else you can deal with but when it comes to a Saturday and you are having to watch games there is nothing worse.”

McKenna was quick to hail Aberdeen’s head of medicine and sport science, Adam Stokes, for helping him back to full fitness over a difficult summer in lockdown.

He said: “I have had a lot of one-on-one time with him. I was back in Cormack Park six or seven weeks before the rest of the lads just to do my rehab. 

“That was a big help.  I stay in a small flat and it was difficult to get equipment in. I had bands tied over railings and different things just to get my exercises done. 

“Adam was using me as the one person he could see a day.  We were in the public park at Westhill doing running and rehab work. 

“I have to thank him for taking the time because it would have been easy for him to say I don’t feel comfortable coming out or he could have used that time to see a member of his family but he used it for me for my rehab. 

“I was speaking to my friends and teammates on FaceTime and they were keeping my spirits up. I had that purpose to get out to work every morning to get fit and to make my body stronger.” 

Now that he’s back up to speed McKenna has his eyes firmly set on a spot in Steve Clarke’s starting Scotland XI when the Euro 2021 play-off comes around.

He added: “There was no denying that I have been fortunate with the timing. I got injured around Kilmarnock away and Hibs at home and they ended up being the only games I missed. 

“I was expected to miss something like 15 games, including the Scotland games, but now I have a chance for the Scottish Cup semi-final and for Scotland although I know I will need to play well to give myself a chance. 

“Now I have the chance I need to get myself in Steve Clarke’s thoughts and that will only happen by playing well for Aberdeen.”