Aberdeen boss Stephen Glass praised defender David Bates for his positive response to criticism.
Glass admits summer signing Bates initially struggled to deliver the levels expected when secured on a three-year contract.
Scotland international Bates signed from German Bundesliga 2 side SV Hamburg in the final week of the summer transfer window.
The Dons boss says he ‘highlighted a few issues’ to the defender and told Bates he needed to improve.
However, there was also an understanding and patience that the defender arrived at Pittodrie short of match-sharpness having had no pre-season.
That patience has paid off.
Bates, 25, has produced strong performances in recent games and netted in the 2-0 defeat of Livingston on Wednesday, his first goal for the Dons.
Capped six times, Bates is set to start against St Mirren at Pittodrie.
Glass said: “I’m pleased for David because he took a lot of stick and he took a lot of criticism from myself internally.
“It has been brilliant to see his response and his growth.
“He wasn’t playing at the level we expected but there were reasons for it.
“There are ways of poking him to make him realise he needs to be better.
“Sometimes you’re telling people things they already know.
“It’s knowing people’s characters and knowing how they respond to the criticism raised.
“It was just a case of highlighting a few issues.”
Glass’ patience in Bates rewarded
Bates was pivotal to the clean sheet against Livingston, only Aberdeen’s third shut-out in 23 games in all competitions this season.
The centre-back also netted the second goal against Livingston and won the equalising penalty in the 2-1 loss to Celtic on Sunday.
Bates, who is set to start against St Mirren, spent last season on loan from SV Hamburg at Belgian top flight Cercle Bruges.
The defender recently admitted he had struggled to find his form at Aberdeen and insisted that was down to having no pre-season training or games.
The defender was signed in the final week of the summer transfer window in late August from the German giants, now in Germany’s second tier.
He had not played for almost five months with his last game-time in a 3-0 Belgian Division One defeat of O-H Leuven on April 10.
Glass said: “We knew what we were getting when we signed David and that’s why we had to be a little bit patient with him.
“It took a little bit longer due to the lack of a pre-season but it wasn’t something we wanted to highlight.
“That would look like an excuse although it was a reason for his performance level increasing.
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“If you say it while his performance level is lower it looks like you are making excuses and David didn’t want excuses.
“This’s why he has not referenced it until this point either.
“I’m delighted for him. Especially with the recognition and the goal the other night.”
Frustration at previous St Mirren clash
Aberdeen will face St Mirren for the first time since losing 3-2 in Paisley on Sunday September 26 amidst a 10 game winless run.
Leading 2-1 and in complete control of the game, the Reds looked on course for a vital three points.
That was until on loan Brighton and Hove Albion midfielder Teddy Jenks was red carded for a second bookable offence in the 51st minute.
Within 10 minutes of Jenks’ dismissal the Dons had conceded twice to fall 3-2 behind.
Glass said: “We remember the last game and we remember what we feel should have happened.
“We were playing pretty well that day and Teddy got sent off for two pretty soft fouls and we felt a little bit hard done by.
“It’s important we take the positives from that game and put them into Saturday.
“We know St Mirren are smarting a little bit from things they feel they should have got recently from their performances.
“It’s another tough opponent and another opportunity for us which is the biggest thing.”
No injury respite for Aberdeen
Glass has no fresh injury concerns from the 2-0 defeat of Livingston nor does he have any players set to return for this weekend.
Out injured are defenders Declan Gallagher (hamstring), Calvin Ramsay (thigh), Andy Considine (cruciate ligament surgery) and Mikey Devlin (ankle).
Winger Matty Kennedy (back) is also sidelined.
Glass said: “The bits we felt we did well against St Mirren last time we try to replicate.
“And any issues we had in that game we will try to get rid of.
“The previous games give you a reference point in how to handle the next.
“Obviously teams can change but I think in the main teams are pretty consistent in terms of selection.
“A lot of teams are starting to feel injuries and suspensions now.
“I feel we are through the worst of the injuries.
“The group of players we have will really help as we have a strong squad of players.”