Pittodrie legend Frank McDougall has urged Aberdeen’s misfiring strikers to be brave and ‘get in where it hurts’.
Scoring great McDougall has slated the Dons’ return of four goals in seven games as ‘unacceptable’.
Aberdeen are mired in a seven game winless run following a 1-0 loss to St Johnstone at Pittodrie.
McDougall netted 44 times in two seasons for the Dons and has urged the club’s strikers to be inspired by prolific strikers like himself and Aberdeen’s all time leading scorer Joe Harper – by remaining in the box.
McDougall said: “Four goals in seven games is not acceptable.
“It has not been great for Aberdeen recently and there were all those early expectations but you have to deliver on it.
“My advice to Aberdeen’s strikers would be brave, put your head in where it hurts, play for the jersey and get into the box.”
Strikers must remain inside the box
Aberdeen failed to really test St Johnstone keeper Zander Clarke in the 1-0 loss and boss Stephen Glass admitted they lacked quality in the attacking third against Saints.
McDougall said: “Forget all that coming out of the box and going short – play in the box.
“You don’t score goals outside the box.
“If I went outside the box I got a nosebleed.
“They have to go back and look at centre-forwards like Joe Harper, myself, Ally McCoist – we were all box players.
“I think I scored one goal in my whole career outside the box.”
McDougall will be back in the Granite City on Friday October 1 for an audience with the 63-year-old Pittodrie great and former Scotland and Rangers keeper Andy Goram at the OGV Taproom.
Sir Alex Ferguson signed McDougall in summer 1984 to replace Gothenburg Great Mark McGhee who had transferred to German side Hamburg.
McDougall made an immediate impact with 24 goals in his debut season to fire Aberdeen to the league title.
That prolific return landed McDougall the prestigious Golden Boot.
During his two seasons at Pittodrie the former St Mirren striker completed the domestic sweep, winning the league title, Scottish Cup and League Cup.
A dangerous operation that could paralyse – but willing to take the gamble
Unfortunately his career was cruelly cut short at the age of just 29 due to the debilitating back condition traumatic spondylitis.
Doctors broke the devastating news to McDougall that he would never play again on his 29th birthday. Surgeons would not undertake surgery as it was too risky and could leave him paralysed.
Such was McDougall’s love for Aberdeen and the game he was willing to take that risk.
He said: “It would have been a very dangerous operation that could have paralysed me.
“I would have been willing to take that gamble as I was only 29 years old at the time.
“Just take me in, open me up, see what the score is and let me go.
“That would have been a year out but I would have had plenty of time left to come back.
“I played just one game in the 87 season against Hibs and I couldn’t do it.”
‘I would have smashed everything’
McDougall burnt bright in that phenomenal two year spell at Pittodrie and left an indelible impression on the club and the Red Army.
There is no doubt had he remained injury fit and at Pittodrie for a number of seasons he would not only have broken the century mark but threatened Joe Harper’s status as the club’s all time leading goal-scorer.
McDougall said: “I would have smashed everything.
“I just wanted to play and didn’t care what team or who I was up against in a game.
“I scored in nine successive games, missed one then scored in the next.
“Niall McGinn had a chance of breaking that (in November 2012) and I emailed him when he didn’t and said ‘unlucky’.”
All four goals against Celtic at Pittodrie
McDougall famously fired in all four goals as Aberdeen thumped Celtic 4-1 at Pittodrie on November 2, 1985. No footage of that game exists as the BBC were on strike.
In January 1985 McDougall also netted a hat-trick against Rangers in a 5-1 win.
We could have won the European Cup
So strong were Aberdeen under Sir Alex’s management McDougall is convinced they should have won the ultimate prize of the European Cup, now the UEFA Champions League, in 1985-86.
Aberdeen were knocked out at the quarter-final stage by IFK Gothenburg on the away goal rule, following a 2-2 draw at Pittodrie and a goal-less stalemate in the return in Sweden.
Swedish international Johnny Ekstrom netted in the 89th minute in the first leg to make it 2-2 – a game McDougall missed due to his back problem.
IFK Gothenburg would lose to Barcelona in a penalty shoot-out in the semis having won 3-0 in Sweden only to lose by the same score-line in Spain.
Barcelona lost on penalties to FC Steaua Bucharest in the final, following a 0-0 draw.
He said: “After the draw at Pittodrie we had to score in Gothenburg.
“I had been away getting my back seen to and when I came back Sir Alex put me on the bench.
“Sir Alex is the greatest manager of all time but with just five minutes to go he said go get ready son.
“That Aberdeen team were the greatest. We could have won everything, the European Cup, the lot. What a team.”