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Richard Gordon column: Aberdeen squad needed a shake-up – and there is an even bigger one to come

Aberdeen's Fraser Hornby.
Aberdeen's Fraser Hornby.

It was an end to the January transfer window the like of which Dons fans have never before seen as Derek McInnes completely overhauled his attacking options.

It was a much-needed revamp, one which could have a major bearing on the remainder of the campaign, but there are never any guarantees, and all three strikers brought in have a point to prove.

Fraser Hornby was first in the door, and his signing is the one that really intrigues me.

I have seen little of the big man, just a few glimpses during his highly successful time with Scotland Under-21s, but a number of people in the game whose opinions I respect have talked about him in glowing terms. He is not a typical big, bustling centre-forward, and has a good touch, links the play well and is quite technical. I look forward to seeing what impact he can make in the coming months.

Callum Hendry is a player I have always taken an interest in and, while his capture came out of the blue given that he wasn’t getting a regular start with St Johnstone, he has qualities the Dons can utilise. Callum is raw, but he definitely has something, and may benefit from a change of scenery.

The third new striker, Florian Kamberi, is something of an enigma. His most productive spell with Hibernian came when partnered with Jamie MacLaren, but his Easter Road career petered-out.

Florian Kamberi.

He had an issue with the then-manager, Neil Lennon, and the move to Rangers was rancorous and ultimately unsuccessful. He has barely played, or scored, in the past eighteen months. That said, he has shown his ability and finishing prowess in the Premiership, and it will be up to the management to help him rediscover that.

The other business done saw Ross McCrorie sign on a permanent basis a few months early, which made sense, and Connor McLennan extending his deal until 2023. That one excites me; Connor is a talent and a player who has the potential to make a far bigger contribution than the now-departed Scott Wright. I hope to see him get an extended run in the team.

Connor McLennan.

The sale of Sam Cosgrove was a great piece of business by the club, as was getting Curtis Main off the payroll. I was surprised when the former Motherwell striker was brought in, and he never got going with the Dons.

Bruce Anderson also left, and his task will now be to try to help Hamilton remain in the top-flight. Bruce desperately needs to start scoring goals again and I hope he can revive his career with the Accies.

The squad needed a shake-up and there could be an even bigger one to come in the summer. The contracts of a number of first-team players are due to expire then, and quite a few are likely to be allowed to move on. Before then and, despite the financial constraints brought by the effects of the pandemic, the focus will be on extending the stays of those the club wants to keep.

Derek needs to pull rabbit out of hat

The excitement generated by the transfer dealings was quickly dampened by another woeful Aberdeen performance against Livingston.

Livi could have been four or five up by half-time and, although the Dons improved after the break, the visitors comfortably deserved their win.

Given the recent run, the defeat has intensified the pressure on Derek McInnes and the manager goes into the vital game against Hibernian in the full knowledge that his job is on the line.

With third place in the Premiership guaranteeing group stage football in next season’s revamped European set-up, the 90 minutes at Easter Road are going to be crucial, and it is a match Aberdeen, and the manager, simply cannot afford to lose.

Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes.

If they do so, and the team play as badly as they have been, it would seem likely that Dave Cormack would have had enough.

In the past, when the heat has been on, Derek has always found a way; he is going to have to do so once again in the capital this afternoon.

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