Villa's players ran to the dugout to celebrate the opening goal against Bolton Wanderers with MacDonald and Ireland revealed they were keen to say thanks to the Scotsman by giving him a positive send-off.
"Everybody has got a strong bond with Kevin," said Ireland.
"He is a really nice guy and I think everyone wanted to send him off in a positive way.
"We were unfortunate not to get the win to do that. But I think it shows the relationship he has with the players."