Leighton Clarkson glad Peter Leven is staying at Aberdeen after league resurgence

Aberdeen Interim Manager Peter Leven shakes hands with Leighton Clarkson during a cinch Premiership match between Hibernian and Aberdeen at Easter Road Stadium, on May 12, 2024, in Edinburgh, Scotland.
Aberdeen Interim Manager Peter Leven shakes hands with Leighton Clarkson during a cinch Premiership match between Hibernian and Aberdeen at Easter Road Stadium, on May 12, 2024, in Edinburgh, Scotland. -Credit:2024 SNS Group

Leighton Clarkson has credited interim manager Peter Leven with injecting new life into Aberdeen FC, leading to a thrilling run of form that's seen the team go seven Premiership games unbeaten.

The Dons' resurgence was highlighted by a resounding 4-0 victory over Hibs at Easter Road on Sunday.

Clarkson, who struck a stunning goal from distance to kick off the scoring spree, believes the team's success is due to the freedom they've been granted under Leven's guidance; a stark contrast to the "restrictive" approach under previous management.

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The young talent, formerly with Liverpool, acknowledged his own improvement, with his latest goal marking his second since Leven stepped in for Neil Warnock.

Clarkson shared: "Pete has been telling me to shoot a lot more. I scored some good goals last year and this year it has just not quite clicked. I don't shoot enough. He told me that before the game and I had an opportunity and put it away."

He praised Leven's impact, saying: "Pete has done a brilliant job. It's so hard to come in after the other managers, it's probably the worst time to try to pick the lads up. He has given us that platform to go and express ourselves."

Clarkson also highlighted the quality within the squad, which was on full display against Hibs, adding: "We have really good players in this squad and we showed it against Hibs. Since Pete has been in he has given me the licence to go and express myself. There have been times this season where it has been a bit restrictive.", reports the Daily Record.

Leven has stabilised the team after the exits of Barry Robson and Neil Warnock this season and has only lost one of nine league games in charge. However, he will be returning to his role as first team coach when new boss Jimmy Thelin takes over in the summer.

Clarkson believes having Leven on board will be essential next season and said: "It is really important Peter will be here next season under the new manager."

"He has done so much for the boys and is always the last one still on the training pitch. Even at the start of the season when he wasn't manager he was always doing extra work with the boys and trying to develop players."

"He is big on that and he has put his stamp on the game and how he wants to play. Peter always helped me with free-kicks and things like that. He gives his time into making us better players. We are doing it for him".

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Clarkson is one of the younger members of the Dons squad at 22 but he's a veteran compared to debutant Fletcher Boyd who came off the bench in Leith to become Aberdeen's youngest ever goalscorer at 16 years and 107 days.

Fletcher Boyd's stunning performance over the weekend, which saw him play a pivotal role in Aberdeen's U18 League title victory, was capped off with a memorable 10-minute appearance. Clarkson couldn't hide his admiration, saying: "Fletcher is such a great kid. He looked a little bit shy but we all put our arm around him."

He continued to praise the young talent, "I said to him before he went on just go express yourself and be confident. That's what he did. The fans helped him as well as they were chanting his name for the majority of the last 10 minutes. And the goal was the cherry on the cake."

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Clarkson has been keeping an eye on Boyd's progress throughout the year, acknowledging his potential: "I have seen glimpses of Fletcher all through the year when he has been training with us and he is a good talent."

Reflecting on the impact of Boyd's performance, Clarkson added: "He couldn't have asked for a better day and his family must be so proud of him. Everyone at Aberdeen Football Club is proud of him."

The excitement following the match was palpable, with Clarkson sharing: "He was buzzing in the dressing room after the game. That's what he will have been dreaming of as this is his club. I'm delighted for him."