Derek McInnes wants Sam Cosgrove to stay at Aberdeen this season amid his prolific goalscoring run.
A hat-trick in the 5-0 demolition of Chikhura Sachkhere last night took his European tally to six goals in four games and 25 in his last 32 for the Dons.
There was some interest in Cosgrove from Rotherham United in January amid his purple patch but ultimately it came to nothing, as he signed a new contract until 2022.
His ever-improving reputation will have been done no harm by last night’s performance but McInnes does not expect him to be going anywhere anytime soon.
He said: “Sam’s got 25 goals in 32 games, which is incredible. But we will keep those goalscoring stats to ourselves until the window shuts! We’ve had enquires about Sam already from other clubs and we know people will be looking at him already, but he will be staying with us this season. It’s important he uses the development of this season to get even better. He’s improved so much in a short period of time and hopefully there’s more to come from Sam. We’ve only scratched the surface.
“I’m never going to be able to sign the perfect player. You’re signing players with loads of development to come, some more than others, and Sam has certainly come from some way back.
“I think people wrote Sam off too quickly – people who should have known better.”
The treble last night was Cosgrove’s first career hat-trick and the he became only the third Aberdeen player in 35 years to score three goals in one European game. The last was Adam Rooney in the 3-0 win over Daugava Riga in 2014.
McInnes added: “We tell him to get his movement right and act like he’s a 5ft 9in striker and he moved well to get his shot away. Yes it was deflected but he found the space. The second was a fantastic diving header but his third was maybe the best of the lot.
“I do feel there’s more to come from Sam but his confidence is growing. He’s got real competition with Curtis Main, who will be an important player for us this season. I think Sam sees that too. We have a couple of strong strikers and Sam has started the season well.”
Scott Wright and Greg Leigh were the other goalscorers on a triumphant night for the Dons, who progressed 6-1 on aggregate to book a place against Rijeka in the third qualifying round.