Gothenburg Great John Hewitt believes it is vital Aberdeen keep talisman striker Sam Cosgrove at Pittodrie.
Hewitt, who scored the winner against Real Madrid in the 1983 Cup-Winners’ Cup final in Sweden, insists keeping the 18-goal forward could be the deciding factor in securing European football for the seventh season in a row.
Stoke City have been linked with a move for the Englishman when the transfer window opens in January but Dons boss Derek McInnes insists there has been no approach.
Hewitt hopes it stays that way.
He said: “He’s someone we really need to hold on to. He’s a great goal threat for us.
“He’s a great target man to have and I’m hoping that with injuries beginning to clear up we can go on a run and start to distance ourselves from the rest.
“We’ve got to really try to maintain that third position. It looks like Rangers and Celtic will contend the top two positions but it’s important that we get the third European spot and keep winning games.
“Big Sam is a handful. For a big guy he’s reasonably quick over the ground. He’s got a great first touch and if I were a defender I wouldn’t like to play against him.”
Cosgrove will have the chance to show what he can do in front of a national audience when the Dons host Rangers tonight.
Aberdeen have already been punished for poor performances against the Old Firm, conceding nine goals. Hewitt wants to see more belief.
He added: “For some reason this season we haven’t turned up against the Old Firm and that’s something the players need to address.
“I can’t put my finger on it but the players are the ones who need to stand up and be counted. They’re the ones who go out on the park and need to stick together. Even if they go behind in games, they’ve got to have that strong will and mentality that they can get themselves back into games.
“They’ve got to believe in themselves. The manager believes in them so it’s up to them. If they do it, I’m sure they’ll be fine.”
Hewitt has stopped short of expecting a win for the Dons tonight but he does expect an improvement on the previous Old Firm displays.
He said: “The fans will be happy if they see the players going out there fully committed. Even if we lose the game, they’ll go away saying we were unlucky –we hit the post twice, we’ve hit the bar, everybody put in a shift.
“I think what the fans won’t accept is the players going out there and not trying. That’s the most important thing. When you pull on a red shirt, you’ve got to give everything.”