Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes insists Sam Cosgrove will have a big role for the club after helping the Dons win against Hearts on Friday.
The 20-year-old, a January signing from Carlisle United, made his first start for the Dons against the Jambos and repaid his manager’s faith in him with an impressive showing which included the assist for the opening goal in the 2-0 victory at Pittodrie.
It was Cosgrove’s header which allowed Anthony O’Connor to put the Dons ahead and, following his red card on his debut against Celtic earlier in the campaign, McInnes was delighted to see the target man put his disappointing start to his Dons career behind him.
He said: “It’s been tough for big Sam. He wasn’t intended to be signed in January but we were able to get a deal done with Carlisle. He is only 20 but he plays as if he is 18.
“He is still a young player in terms of his football education. He is a good option for us in terms of bringing something different like you saw against Hearts and he has been desperate to play his part.
“Hopefully, people will remember that rather than focus on his debut, which was a disappointing one for him, but he has been eager to play his part. We have got a lot of technical players and smaller players and sometimes the size and presence Sam offers brings a balance to the team especially in a game like the one against Hearts as they wanted to play deep at times and Sam showed why he can be important.”
Friday’s victory allowed the Dons to put pressure on their rivals for second place and, while the Dons remain in control of their own destiny going into the final three matches, McInnes knows Rangers and Hibs will feel the same way.
The Dons host Hibs at Pittodrie on Saturday before Rangers visit the Granite City a week tomorrow and, with only the teams who finish second and third guaranteed of qualifying for European football next season, McInnes knows it is all to play for in the run-in.
He said: “I don’t really buy into the psychology side of it. It is just important with each cycle of games that we don’t lose any ground and hopefully our results can be better than the teams around us.
“It is unusual to have the three teams involved and they all feel it is in their own hands.
“It shows you how well the split works. We’re now effectively playing cup football through the league and that’s what it feels like. It’s exciting and we’re glad to be right in among it.”