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Born: 23 August 1982
Came from: Cardiff City Went to: Released
First game: 19 January 2008 Last game: 09 October 2010
Appearances: 53 (35/18) Goals: 6
MacLean began his career at Glasgow Rangers and joined Scunthorpe United on a season-long loan in 2003-04. With no prospect of a first team place at Rangers he moved to Sheffield Wednesday, scoring 20 goals in his first season and helping Paul Sturrock's team to victory in the play-off final. After Wednesday allowed his contract to expire he joined Cardiff City on a free transfer but an ankle ligament injury kept him out of the first team. He then signed for Argyle for a club-record fee of £500,000 but could not live up to the huge price tag.
MacLean played only occasionally in his first two years at Home Park, a lack of goals and perceived laziness making him a target for often frustrated supporters. Amid rumours of a falling out with Sturrock, he was told in October 2009 that he was free to pursue a move to another club, which led to a trial with Hearts. This move did not materialise and it was another three months before he moved on loan to Aberdeen for the remainder of the season.
Back in the team under Peter Reid at the start of the 2010-11 campaign, MacLean soon fell out of favour again and moved to Oxford United on loan in November, extending the move until the end of the season two months later. He was released by Argyle at the end of his contract and during the following pre-season joined Yeovil Town on a twelve-month deal, where he scored three goals in 20 games before being loaned to play-off chasing Cheltenham Town for the remainder of the 2011-12 season. He played three times for the Gloucestershire club, with his only goal – as is almost obligatory – coming on this return to Home Park when Cheltenham won the last game of the campaign. Released by Yeovil, MacLean signed a short-term contract with Scottish Premier League club St Johnstone in September 2012, which was subsequently extended until 2014.
Despite missing most of the 2013-14 season after knee surgery, the 31-year-old signed another contract extension in May 2014 to keep him at St Johnstone for a further for two years. A week later he scored in the Saints' 2014 Scottish Cup Final victory, which allowed him to play Europa League football in the early part of the 2014-15 season.
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From Andrew Chapman in Leeds on 12/11/2013 ...
I still don't get why it didn't really work out for Steve - maybe over the years it'll come out what the issue was, or maybe it was just one of those things? I once wrote a piece of 'Rub of The Greens' where I basically said if you had offered me £1.5 million for Ebanks-Blake and MacLean for £500k I would have snapped your hand off - good business that appeared; a £1 million profit and he was prolific before he joined us (largely a 1 in 2 scoring record) and has continued to score since he left us. Another striker signed by Argyle, often played out of position and who had a decent scoring record quashed whilst at the club! He came in for a lot of unnecessary stick from our fans - I still think he was an intelligent player who used space well, though it is a shame he didn't score more, obviously. He did however at least (for once!) ensure the 'Law of the Returning Striker' worked in our favour (rather than against us as it always seems to) when he scored the winner on his return to Hillsborough in our 1-0 win at Sheffield Wednesday in October 2008.
APPEARANCE DETAILS [reselect competitions]
The details below reflect appearances in all first-team competitions.
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