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Duncan Shearer: Christian Ramirez can break the 20-goal barrier for Aberdeen this season

Christian Ramirez has scored 11 goals so far for Aberdeen
Christian Ramirez has scored 11 goals so far for Aberdeen

Christian Ramirez must surely now be targeting the 20-goal barrier for Aberdeen this season.

The American took his tally to the season to 11 in 24 matches with his brace in Saturday’s 4-1 win against St Mirren at Pittodrie.

Ramirez was the name which excited me when he joined the Dons in the summer, purely on the basis, of all the big-name new arrivals at the club, he was the one I knew least about.

Scott Brown, Declan Gallagher, David Bates, Jay Emmanuel-Thomas and Marley Watkins are all good players, but we all knew what they would bring to the Dons as we were familiar with their exploits in Scottish football already. Ramirez, by comparison, was an unknown – but he has been a big success story in the season so far.

With five games left to play before the winter break on January 2, I’m hoping he can at least hit the 15-goal mark before the shutdown.

If his team-mates can provide the service, then there’s every chance he can be a 20-plus striker for Aberdeen this season. I’ll be disappointed if he isn’t.

With Watkins alongside the former US international, there is every reason to be optimistic.

Marley Watkins is the perfect foil for Christian Ramirez

Marley is a great foil for a striker. He can run with the ball at pace and his body strength is incredible.

I’ll never forget his run in the Scottish Cup final win against Falkirk as he set off from deep inside his own half before firing off a shot which was parried into the path of James Vincent to score the goal to win the cup for Inverness.

That’s what he brings to the team – pace, power, and some clever passes.

I’d still like to see him improve his finishing, but with two goals against St Mirren on Saturday he certainly looked the part.

The win over St Mirren was an important result for Dons boss Stephen Glass, too.

Stephen will be delighted to have picked up six points from the two home games last week and he will be looking to his players to carry that form into Saturday’s trip to McDiarmid Park to face St Johnstone.

It has been a stop-start season for Aberdeen so far and if they really want to push on and get back up there challenging for the European spots they need a couple of months of consistency, not a couple of game.

That must be the biggest frustration for Stephen. He’s clearly got talented players there when they perform, but it hasn’t happened nearly enough for the club so far.

I hope the wins against Livingston and St Mirren will inject some confidence into the Aberdeen team as they look to go into 2022 on a high.

Caley Thistle back in the Championship groove

Caley Thistle have responded brilliantly to falling off the pace in the Scottish Championship by closing the gap on Kilmarnock and now returning to the top of the table.

I was at Caledonian Stadium on Friday for the 1-0 win against Killie and, while it was far from a classic, there was no doubt Billy Dodds’ side deserved to win the game.

As Killie boss Tommy Wright said afterwards, his team got what they deserved – nothing.

For Inverness, it’s important having regained top spot they now look to try to open up a gap again.

The big games keep on coming with a Scottish Cup and league double-header against Morton ahead, and two trips to Cappielow in a few days will be a challenge for Billy and his players.

But, in league terms, this weekend’s match is a vital one.

We’re now effectively in a five-horse race for the title as only three points separate the teams at the top of the table, but, with Raith Rovers facing Kilmarnock and Partick Thistle hosting Arbroath, Caley Jags have to go to Cappielow and get a result.

That’s where the season is now. When you are not playing one of the other four teams up there challenging with you, then you have to be aiming to take three points.

Caley Thistle captain Sean Welsh can be a key player in the second half of the season

Sean Welsh can help them achieve that aim – but I do wish he would keep it simple a little more often.

Welsh is a very good player with a terrific shot on him as we saw with his goal on Friday.

His work rate is also immense, but I’d like to see him simplify his passing. There’s too many long passes being attempted and possession being given away – and it doesn’t need to happen.

If it takes two or three passes for the ball to get to its intended destination but you retain possession, that’s okay.

County must channel frustration into beating Dundee

Poor Malky Mackay just cannot catch a break at Ross County.

The Staggies boss must have been pulling his hair out at seeing his side’s game at St Johnstone postponed due to a waterlogged pitch at McDiarmid Park.

It has been a really stop-start six weeks for the Staggies and it must be so frustrating with it coming during the club’s best run of results all season.

Between Covid, injuries and postponements, it has been one struggle after another for County, but they must try to put it all behind them as they prepare to welcome Dundee to Victoria Park on Saturday.

It’s a massive game at the bottom of the table and, having beaten Dundee 5-0 at Dens Park earlier in the season, I’m expecting a feisty one when these two meet again.

Dundee will be hurting, but County need a win – and I think they will get it.