Steve MacLean (footballer)

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This article is about the Scottish footballer of the 2000s who played for Sheffield Wednesday and Plymouth Argyle. For other people by the same name, see Steven MacLean.
Steve MacLean
Steve MacLean May 2007.jpg
MacLean as a Sheffield Wednesday player
Personal information
Full name Steven George MacLean
Date of birth (1982-08-23) 23 August 1982 (age 32)
Place of birth Edinburgh, Scotland
Height 5 ft 10 in (1.78 m)
Playing position Forward
Club information
Current team
St. Johnstone
Number 9
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
2001–2002 Forres Mechanics
2002–2004 Rangers 3 (0)
2003–2004 Scunthorpe United (loan) 42 (23)
2004–2007 Sheffield Wednesday 84 (33)
2007–2008 Cardiff City 15 (1)
2008–2011 Plymouth Argyle 48 (5)
2010 Aberdeen (loan) 16 (5)
2010–2011 Oxford United (loan) 31 (6)
2011–2012 Yeovil Town 20 (3)
2012 Cheltenham Town (loan) 3 (1)
2012– St. Johnstone 56 (16)
National team
2002 Scotland U21[1] 4 (0)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 11:51, 18 August 2014 (UTC).
† Appearances (Goals).

Steven George "Steve" MacLean (born 23 August 1982) is a Scottish footballer who plays as a forward who currently plays for St. Johnstone. MacLean has previously played for Forres Mechanics, Glasgow Rangers, Scunthorpe United, Sheffield Wednesday, Cardiff City, Plymouth Argyle, Aberdeen, Oxford United, Yeovil Town and Cheltenham Town. He also represented the Scotland national under-21 football team.

Club career[edit]

Early Days[edit]

He began his senior football career at Glasgow Rangers FC, followed by a successful loan spell at Scunthorpe United (where he was given the nickname 'The Loan Ranger'[citation needed]) scoring 25 goals but despite this manager Alex McLeish deemed that he was not "a first team prospect" and placed him on the transfer list.[2]

Sheffield Wednesday[edit]

On 7 July 2004, MacLean joined Sheffield Wednesday for an undisclosed fee, believed to be around £125,000, and signed a three-year deal.[3]

He scored 20 goals in his first season, including a hat-trick against Doncaster Rovers, Wednesday's first away hat-trick for 32 years.[citation needed] He was the first Sheffield Wednesday player to hit the 20 goal mark in one season since Mark Bright in 1994. He also scored a crucial penalty under pressure in the Football League One play-off final in 2005. These exploits lead to him picking up a couple of fan's player of the season awards.[citation needed]

MacLean sustained a broken leg on the eve of the club's Championship campaign in August 2005, but returned in the latter part of the season to score two penalties for Wednesday, first at home to rivals Sheffield United in a 2–1 defeat and then against league champions Reading, which earned the Owls a 1–1 draw.

MacLean sustained another injury setback in August 2006 after scoring in a 1–1 draw against Burnley, but made a comeback a month later in the defeat to Derby County.

He finished the 2006–007 season with 13 goals from 22 first team starts and 22 substitute appearances, making him the club's joint top goal scorer for the season with Deon Burton and showing signs of returning to the form in which he played with in the 2004–05 season.

Cardiff City[edit]

On 22 June 2007, it was announced that MacLean had signed for Sheffield Wednesday's Championship rivals Cardiff City, after failing to agree a new contract at Hillsborough.[4] The move was a surprise to many Owls fans as MacLean was rumoured to have declared his willingness and desire to remain at the club. Speculation arose during the prolonged contract-talks with Wednesday that MacLean was demanding a significant pay-rise from that of his previous contract. It is possible that another stumbling block which prevented Sheffield Wednesday renewing MacLean's contract, was a clause in his contract which would grant former club Rangers £50,000 if he re-signed.[5]

MacLean began the season as Cardiff's leading striker after Robbie Fowler was deemed not fit enough to play in some of the team's opening games. Famous for having never missed a penalty in his career, he came to Cardiff to miss one on his debut, leaving his new club to lose 1–0 to Stoke City on the first game of the season. He scored his first goal for the Bluebirds in the next game away to Queens Park Rangers, as Cardiff won 2–0.[6] However, with Fowler soon returning and the arrival of Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, MacLean found himself relegated to the bench. Things continued to get worse for him as he suffered ruptured ankle ligaments in a reserve match against Plymouth Argyle, which was expected to rule him out until December.[7] However, he made an early return coming on as a substitute in a 1–0 loss to Southampton on 21 October 2007. After his return, he made mostly late substitute appearances, with just three starts for Cardiff – in a 2–0 defeat against Charlton Athletic, a 2–2 draw with Watford, and a 3–1 win against Chasetown in the FA Cup.

Plymouth Argyle[edit]

After finding himself out of favour at Cardiff, since struggling to find the net at start to the season, MacLean officially signed a three and a half-year deal with Plymouth Argyle on 18 January 2008 and reunited himself with former Sheffield Wednesday manager Paul Sturrock. The fee of £500,000 was a record signing for Argyle.[8] He made his debut for the club the next day in a 1–1 draw against Southampton and scored his first goal for the club on 12 February in the sixth minute against Barnsley in a 3–0 win at Home Park. In October 2009 Maclean was informed by Plymouth manager Paul Sturrock that he was free to look for a new club. On 28 December, MacLean joined SPL side Hearts on trial.[9] He swiftly left again as Vladimir Romanov refused to finance a move.


After a month of speculation, MacLean finally signed for Aberdeen on loan until the end of the 2009–10 season on 1 February 2010. He scored his first goal for Aberdeen in a 2–2 draw with Hibernian on 10 February 2010 and scored a brace in his next match, a 4–4 draw with Celtic at Pittodrie on 13 February 2010,[10] bringing his tally to three goals in three league games for the Dons. After his loan at Aberdeen finished, MacLean had made 16 appearance and scored 5 goals.

Oxford United[edit]

On 11 November 2010, MacLean signed for Oxford United on loan.[11] He scored his first goal for Oxford in a 2–1 win against league leaders at the time Chesterfield on 23 November. On 19 January 2011, MacLean signed an extension to his current loan deal to play for 'The U's' for the rest of the season. After finished his spell at Oxford United, MacLean made 31 appearancee and scoring 6 goals.

Yeovil Town[edit]

Released by Plymouth at the end of the season,[12] MacLean sought out other clubs and went on trial with Yeovil Town in July 2011.[13] On 26 July 2011, MacLean officially joined Yeovil Town on a one-year deal.[14] On Yeovil Town first match for 2011–12 season, MacLean made his Yeovil debut in a 2–0 loss against Brentford. Also, on his debut, MacLean received a yellow card in the third minute.[15] On 9 September 2011, MacLean and scored his first goals for Yeovil in a 4–3 loss against Preston. He also scored in a cup tie with Bournemouth, also setting up Max Ehmer later in the game. His next goal was in a 3 – 2 defeat away to Bury, but his celebration was said to be a gesture towards new manager Gary Johnson. The incident was subject to an internal enquiry by the club and could have led to MacLean's contract being terminated, but two days late Johnson said that he was satisfied the gesture was just an "over-exuberant" celebration.

Cheltenham Town[edit]

After Yeovil's game against Carlisle United, Johnson explained that he had received an approach from Robins manager Mark Yates, and with MacLean struggling to get minutes on the pitch at present, the Glovers boss told BBC Somerset that he could see it as suiting all parties. On 22 March 2012, it was confirmed that MacLean had completed a loan move to Cheltenham Town until the end of the season. He scored his first and only goal for Cheltenham in a 2–1 win at former club Plymouth Argyle on 5 May 2012.[16]

St. Johnstone[edit]

MacLean signed a short term contract with Scottish Premier League club St. Johnstone on 1 September 2012,[17] making his debut as a late substitute in a 2–1 win over Celtic on 15 September. He scored his first goals for the club with a brace against Queen's Park in the League Cup on 25 September.[18] Four days later, MacLean scored his first league goal in a 3–1 win over Dundee. However, he suffered a dislocated elbow during the match and was out of action for about six weeks[19] He marked his recovery from injury,[20] in a 1–1 draw against Inverness Caledonian Thistle on 27 October. The following month, MacLean signed a contract extension, keeping him at the club until the end of the 2013/14 season.[21] MacLean ended a run of seven games without scoring in a 2–2 draw against Heart of Midlothian on 15 December 2012.[22] Later in the season, MacLean was a regular in the first team, though his goalscoring form dropped, as he was used in more of a supporting role.

In 2013–14 season, MacLean was included for four matches in the Europa League match and in the first leg of their Europa League third qualifying round tie, he scored his first European goal, in a 1–0 win over Belarus side Minsk.[23] However, the next leg, Minsk equalised, leading to an extra time and then to penalty shoot-out. As MacLean took the fifth penalty and if scored, then it would go on to sudden death. Instead, MacLean had his penalty saved, eliminating St. Johnstone out of the Europa League.[24] After the match, MacLean quoted "I tried to go for power [with my penalty] but the keeper has guessed right"[25] Despite this, MacLean scored four goals between late-September and mid-October against Partick Thistle, Inverness Caledonian Thistle and St. Mirren. Unfortunately, MacLean had an operation on his knee after he sustained against St. Mirren and following an operation, MacLean will be out for three month.[26]

After a four-month out, MacLean made his return for the club, where he scored twice in a 3–0 win over Motherwell on 25 February 2014.[27] He continues to be in the first team throughout the season and despite the injury he sustained in the season, MacLean signed a contract extension that will keep him for two years.[28] Weeks after signing a new deal, MacLean started in the Scottish Cup Final, alongside with his striking partner, Stevie May. In the second half, with St. Johnstone winning 1–0, MacLean scored the second goal in the final after "he slid in to challenge Cierzniak before turning the ball over the line while grounded." Shortly scoring to make the game over, MacLean immediately removed his shirt, resulting a yellow card.[29] After the match, MacLean spoke that the scoring the goal was an incredible feeling and had no regrets of removing his shirt, insisting it was worth it.[30]

On 24 July 2014, "Macca" made amends for his missed penalty by emphatically scoring the first penalty in the Europa League 2nd Round Qualifier against FC Luzern at McDiarmid Park, after the match finished 1–1, 2–2 on aggregate, with MacLean scoring for the Saints in the first leg a week earlier in Switzerland.

Career statistics[edit]

Season Club League League Cup League Cup Other Total
Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
2001–02 Forres Mechanics Highland Football League ? ? 3 0 0 0 0 0 3 0
2002–03 Rangers Scottish Premier League 3 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 4 0
2003–04 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Scunthorpe United Football League Third Division 42 23 5 0 2 1 3 1 52 25
2004–05 Sheffield Wednesday Football League One 37 19 1 0 2 0 1 1 41 20
2005–06 Football League Championship 6 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 6 2
2006–07 41 12 2 1 0 0 0 0 43 13
2007–08 Cardiff City 15 1 1 0 2 0 0 0 17 1
Plymouth Argyle 17 3 1 0 1 0 0 0 19 3
2008–09 21 2 1 0 2 0 0 0 24 2
2009–10 3 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 4 0
Aberdeen Scottish Premier League 16 5 2 0 0 0 0 0 18 5
2010–11 Plymouth Argyle Football League One 7 0 0 0 1 0 1 1 9 1
Oxford United Football League Two 31 6 0 0 0 0 0 0 31 6
2011–12 Yeovil Town Football League One 20 3 2 0 1 0 1 1 24 4
Cheltenham Town Football League Two 3 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 1
2012–13 St. Johnstone Scottish Premier League 31 5 2 1 2 2 0 0 35 8
2013–14 Scottish Premiership 21 8 3 1 1 0 4 2 29 11
2014–15 4 2 0 0 0 0 2 1 0 0
Career totals 262 77 18 1 10 1 6 4 296 83


Sheffield Wednesday
Cardiff City
St. Johnstone


  1. ^
  2. ^ "MacLean on transfer list" BBC Sport Retrieved on 1 October 2007
  3. ^ "Owls complete MacLean deal" BBC Sport Retrieved on 1 October 2007
  4. ^ "Cardiff capture Rae and MacLean" BBC Sport Retrieved on 1 October 2007
  5. ^ "Sky Sports | Sport News". BSkyB. Retrieved 2011-09-16. 
  6. ^ "QPR 0–2 Cardiff". BBC Sport (BBC). 18 August 2007. Retrieved 29 December 2009. 
  7. ^ "Cardiff suffer double injury blow". BBC Sport (BBC). Retrieved 1 October 2007. 
  8. ^ "MacLean signs". Plymouth Argyle FC. 
  9. ^ "MacLean starts Tynecastle trial". BBC Sport (BBC). 28 December 2009. Retrieved 2010-02-15. 
  10. ^ "Aberdeen 4–4 Celtic". BBC Sport (BBC). 13 February 2010. Retrieved 2010-02-15. 
  11. ^ "United sign MacLean". Oxford United FC. 11 November 2010. Retrieved 2010-11-11. 
  12. ^ "Stephane offered new deal". Plymouth Argyle FC. 20 May 2011. Retrieved 20 July 2011. 
  13. ^ "New Trialists". Yeovil Town FC. 13 July 2011. Retrieved 19 July 2011. 
  14. ^ "Glovers land striker MacLean | Sky Sports | Football | Transfer Centre | Done Deal". Sky Sports. BSkyB. 26 July 2011. Retrieved 2011-09-16. 
  15. ^ "Brentford 2–0 Yeovil". BBC Sport. BBC. 6 August 2011. Retrieved 2011-09-16. 
  16. ^ "Plymouth 1–2 Cheltenham". BBC Sport (BBC). 5 May 2012. Retrieved 28 September 2012. 
  17. ^ "SAINTS SECURE STRIKER STEVEN MacLEAN". (St. Johnstone FC). 1 September 2012. Retrieved 1 September 2012. 
  18. ^ "St Johnstone 4–1 Queen's Park". BBC Sport (BBC). 25 September 2012. Retrieved 28 September 2012. 
  19. ^ "St Johnstone striker Steven MacLean out for six weeks". BBC Sport. 9 October 2012. Retrieved 20 October 2012. 
  20. ^ "St Johnstone striker Steve MacLean makes a speedy return to boost Saints". Daily Record. 29 October 2012. Retrieved 24 December 2012. 
  21. ^ "St Johnstone striker Steven Maclean signs contract extension". STV. 19 November 2012. Retrieved 29 November 2012. 
  22. ^ "St Johnstone 2 – 2 Hearts". BBC Sport. 15 December 2012. Retrieved 16 December 2012. 
  23. ^ "FC Minsk 0 St Johnstone 1: Perth men's Europa League heroics continue in Belarus". Daily Record. 1 August 2013. Retrieved 2 August 2013. 
  24. ^ "Europa League – Penalty agony for St Johnstone". Yahoo! Eurosport. 8 August 2013. Retrieved 5 January 2014. 
  25. ^ "Steven MacLean: St Johnstone players are 'gutted' by Minsk defeat". STV Sport. 9 August 2013. Retrieved 5 January 2014. 
  26. ^ "Steven MacLean injury setback for St Johnstone". BBC Sport. 5 November 2013. Retrieved 5 January 2014. 
  27. ^ "St. Johnstone 3 – 0 Motherwell". BBC Sport. 25 February 2014. Retrieved 10 May 2014. 
  28. ^ "Steven MacLean and Lee Croft sign fresh St Johnstone contracts". STV Sport. 9 May 2014. Retrieved 10 May 2014. 
  29. ^ "Scottish Cup Final: St Johnstone 2 – 0 Dundee United". BBC Sport. 17 May 2014. Retrieved 18 May 2014. 
  30. ^ "St Johnstone star Steven MacLean : Seeing my dad in tears made me realise importance of Cup final winner". Daily Record. 18 May 2014. Retrieved 18 May 2014. 

External links[edit]