Rudan hails McDonald for making sacrifices to help build United
Mark Rudan heaped praise on Scott McDonald after revealing the ex-Caltex Socceroo made sacrifices to be part of Western United’s origin story.
The 36-year-old enjoyed a storied 20-year career in the United Kingdom, winning the Scottish Premier League with Celtic, before making the decision to return to his homeland for the 2019/20 season.
Having left Australia before the Hyundai A-League launched, McDonald made his competition debut in the Round 1 triumph against Wellington Phoenix.
And McDonald played a decisive role in the 3-2 comeback win against Melbourne Victory, scoring the winner, his first Hyundai A-League goal, to the delight of his head coach.
“There has been a lot of Socceroos who have come back and haven’t perhaps have performed as well as they wanted to,” Rudan said.
“This is a country, believe it or not, that’s similar to Europe, where they can be extremely negative if things don’t work out that way.
“[McDonald] has come in on a really modest wage and I take my hat off to him.
“He’s achieved everything in his career and the question was ‘why do you need to do this? There’s a lot going against you if things don’t go right.'
“We had a really long discussion. He wasn’t playing at the time at that high level any more.
“There are certain people that you know you want to be part of creating a football club.
“He’s a great individual, he’s got a great character, fantastic for the young kids as well.
“We were really decisive in our decision making where it came to the more experienced players we wanted to bring to the football club to be sure that these young kids coming through learn good behaviours and habits.
“Macca is one of them. He put his hand up, he stood up - a lot of other players did as well - but he was great [against Victory].”
Western United forward Scott McDonald's touch map against Melbourne Victory
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United fell behind to early goals from Ola Toivonen and Kristin Dobras in their first Victoria derby game at Marvel Stadium.
Alessandro Diamanti’s goal sparked a turnaround that Rudan believes will be remembered for many years to come.
“We’re a new football club and, if you look at all of the clubs that are here today from 15 years ago, it’s moments like these that can define what your club is,” said Rudan.
“This will be a game I believe in 10 or 15 years time we can look back on as a football club as a defining moment.
“A lot of clubs have defining moments in their history at the very start, and we’ve still got a long way to go.”
Melbourne Victory boss Marco Kurz believes Western United’s opener had a severe affect on his players.
Kurz insists there will be an enquiry into why his side reacted so badly after losing a goal, despite still being in a 2-1 lead in front of their home supporters.
“I think the biggest points is what was happening after the first goal from Diamanti,” Kurz said.
“We lost a little bit of confidence, we lost our behaviour to press then in the right moment.
“We lost the confidence, the belief and the trust in our game.
“Before the half-time it was not good enough on our side.”