Lewis Ferguson believes Aberdeen can be more than best of the rest in the Scottish Premiership this season.
The Dons are fourth in the division, but, having played two games less than two of the teams above them – Rangers and Hibernian – and one game less than Celtic, Derek McInnes’ side is in a healthy position heading into the international break.
Midfielder Ferguson, who scored an stoppage time winner for his side in their 2-1 victory against St Mirren on Friday, believes his club can achieve more than a third place finish this term and challenge the Hoops and the Gers.
He said: “We always want to be as high in the table as possible and get as close to them as possible.
“We know at times they are going to kick away from the pack, but we spoke at the start of the season of being that team that is in and around them and not just fighting for third.
“It’s always difficult as they have massive squads and millions of pounds to spend. It’s difficult to compete against that, but I think we do.
“We spoke at the start of the season about wanting to try to put pressure on them and not just be fighting for that third spot.”
Ferguson took his tally to the season to six with his last-gasp winner at Pittodrie and, with four of his goals having come from the penalty spot, he is in no mood to relinquish spot-kick duties back to regular penalty taker Sam Cosgrove, who has resumed training.
He said: “Last season I didn’t score as much as I would have liked, so I want to put that right and I’m on penalties right now which obviously helps.
“We haven’t spoken about it, but Sam was the penalty taker when we were both on the pitch.
“We’ll discuss it and see what he thinks, but I’m quite happy to take them until such time as I miss.”
The Dons had to do it the hard way to see off a battling Saints side who belied their form by pushing the home side all the way before Ferguson’s late winner.
Ferguson said: “I don’t think we were anywhere near our best. We started the game well but for some reason we got sloppy and St Mirren came into the game, but we showed character.
“We spoke last week about getting shots away from the edge of the box so we’ll take the three points.
“Character can win you games as well as ability can so it is good we have both.
“Last week (against Ross County) we were on top and it won us the game. On Friday character won us the game so it’s nice to show both.
“We had a meeting last week and spoke about shots on target. We were winning games, but we were not getting enough shots at goal. We looked at stats and teams who were not winning games were having more shots on goal than us.
“We were winning games and keeping clean sheets, but maybe only winning by one goal so we’ve addressed that. We did that last week and on Friday as well.
“When it is the last minute and you haven’t played well, you’ll take those sort of ones all day long. We didn’t make it comfortable for ourselves, but it is the same three points as last week.”