Belfast Telegraph

Northern Ireland winger Matty Kennedy signs pre-contract deal with Scottish Premiership side

St Johnstone’s Matty Kennedy was included in the Northern Ireland squad for the first time in October (Jane Barlow/PA)
St Johnstone’s Matty Kennedy was included in the Northern Ireland squad for the first time in October (Jane Barlow/PA)

Northern Ireland winger Matty Kennedy will join Aberdeen this summer after penning a pre-contract deal with the club.

The 25-year-old's senior career has been kickstarted in the 18 months since he joined Tommy Wright's St Johnstone.

Having been shipped out on a series of loan moves by previous club Cardiff, Kennedy moved north and has since become an established Scottish Premiership star, having scored nine league goals for the club and earned a series of admirers.

Whle Wright was desperate to keep him at St Johnstone, Hearts were also interested in Kennedy. Both, however, have been beaten to his signature by Derek McInnes' Dons.

“I’m pleased Matty has shown a real desire to join Aberdeen when there were other options available to him," said the boss.

“Respectfully he remains a St Johnstone player, but I look forward to him joining us in the summer and working with him next season.”

Kennedy began his career at Kilmarnock before being signed by Everton for £250k aged only 17. Failing to make a single senior appearance for the Toffees, he moved on to Cardiff in 2015. Loan spells at Port Vale, Plymouth and Portsmouth followed, before his switch north.

Born in Belfast to Scottish parents and having moved back to their homeland at a young age, he played underage football for Scotland.

Saints manager Wright alerted Michael O'Neill to Kennedy's Northern Ireland eligibility and the attacker received his first call-up in October. He has yet to receive his first cap but has been named on the bench three times.

Aberdeen are currently fourth in the Scottish Premiership table, five places and 16 points above St Johnstone.

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