St Mirren boss Danny Lennon gave Kenny McLean the highest praise possible when he mentioned Scottish legends Graeme Souness and Kenny Dalglish when discussing his midfielder's potential following the 2-0 win over Clydesdale Bank Premier League new boys Dundee at Dens Park.
McLean's 35-yard strike six minutes from the interval, which gave Dees keeper Rab Douglas no chance, was fit on its own to win any game, although striker Sam Parkin clinched the points when he grabbed a second after the break.
Afterwards Lennon predicted great things for his Scotland under-21 player in the future, although he is glad to have him at the Paisley club in the meantime.
"It was a wonderful goal and he has got that in his locker," said the Buddies boss. "The ball was still rising when it hit the back of the net. Maybe this season we will unleash a new Souness or Dalglish and I certainly think McLean has the ability to do that.
"There will be a little bit of help from myself and the staff, but he certainly has the tools to do it. He is going into his second full season and he has two years of his contract still to go. He has a lot of development still in him and we think he is in the correct environment. Kenny McLean has all to the tools to be a top player, wherever he goes."
Lennon believes McLean, 20, should be pushing for a place in Craig Levein's plans for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers even though he was left out of Billy Stark's under-21 squad for this month's challenge match against Belgium.
Lennon said: "First and foremost he has to get into Billy Stark's under-21 squad and Billy didn't think he was quite ready. But he certainly has it in his locker, I see his professionalism and ability on a daily basis."
McLean was involved in one moment of controversy when Dundee claimed for a penalty following his challenge on Mark Stewart inside the box, seconds before Parkin scored the clincher. The Paisley player said: "I clearly got the ball."
Dundee boss Barry Smith did not make too much of the penalty claim, saying: "We are obviously going to claim the penalty but the referee has a decision to make and that's the end of it."
Smith added: "They scored with a great strike but I thought we were on top of the game when they got the second. But at this level we can't switch off and that was the problem, we switched off and allowed them to break and get the second goal."
- Kenny McLean
- Clydesdale Bank Premier League
- Danny Lennon
- Graeme Souness
- Kenny Dalglish