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Willie Miller: Aberdeen’s exciting attack gives optimism for the rest of the season

Aberdeen's Christian Ramirez celebrates scoring in the 4-1 defeat of St Mirren.
Aberdeen's Christian Ramirez celebrates scoring in the 4-1 defeat of St Mirren.

Aberdeen gave supporters an exciting glimpse of their attacking potential in the 4-1 defeat of St Mirren.

It will surely have the Red Army optimistic and upbeat if the attackers can deliver those levels on a consistent basis.

There was a potent goal threat from Christian Ramirez, Marley Watkins and Ryan Hedges in particular.

Those three have so much creativity and are key to opening up defences.

If they keep up that level of performance, Aberdeen can deliver a positive December to go into the winter break comfortably in the top six.

If the attack continue to fire like this then the Dons will go into the new year with real optimism for what the second half of the season can bring.

Aberdeen’s Marley Watkins (7) celebrates scoring to make it 3-1 against St Mirren.

Watkins netted a double against St Mirren and his performances in recent games have been exceptionally good.

He causes so much issues to defences with both his work-rate and creativity.

Watkins took both goals really well and will be a vital cog in the bid for success.

His form has been good all season when he has been fit, but now it has reached a level that will really excite supporters.

Jay Emmanuel-Thomas has returned to the starting XI in the last two games and has played a role in that dangerous-looking attack.

He is a different type of player to the other three attackers.

If you’re looking for high work rate, I wouldn’t suggest Emmanuel-Thomas would be first on the list.

However, if you’re looking for quality on the ball he would be first on that list.

Emmanuel-Thomas contributes highly to the team performance as he brings a certain calmness when he is on the ball.

Aberdeen’s Jay Emmanuel-Thomas during the 4-1 defeat of St Mirren.

Against St Mirren, his shot led to one of Ramirez’s goals and he also won a vital header in the build up to another.

Emmanuel-Thomas produces a lot of creativity and nice touches.

He also delivers unexpected use of the ball, which can be a real tool in opening up defences because they don’t know what he’s going to do

This season so far Emmanuel-Thomas has mostly been a bit-part player, but will have a big part to play, particularly in home games where they dominate possession.

Against teams like Rangers and Celtic when you are looking for work-rate and defensive capabilities, I’m still to be convinced.

Aberdeen’s Jay Emmanuel-Thomas and Christian Ramirez after the 4-1 defeat of St Mirren.

But he certainly brings calmness, creativity and quality and is a positive addition to the attack.

There’s no doubt that attack is capable of consistently opening up defences, but they hadn’t done it often enough this season.

The performance against St Mirren is one they must deliver going forward.

It is the second successive home victory and from those seeds the hope is that something much bigger will grow.

Ideally beating St Mirren and Livingston to jump back into the top six will give Aberdeen real momentum.

Aberdeen’s Christian Ramirez celebrates scoring to make it 2-0 against St Mirren.

The defence had needed to perform better for much of the season and, although Aberdeen conceded at the weekend, they were strong at the back.

Centre-backs David Bates and Ross McCrorie, along with keeper Joe Lewis, are now finding the form that is required at this level.

Lewis went through a sticky patch earlier in the season that resulted in him being dropped for two games.

However, Lewis has looked so much better in recent matches.

Bates has turned his season round and is looking like the player we all thought he was going to be when signing from SV Hamburg in the summer.

His form since arriving at Pittodrie had been disappointing.

Aberdeen keeper Joe Lewis during the 4-1 defeat of St Mirren.

However, in the last three games against St Mirren, Livingston and Celtic, Bates has produced impressive displays.

The defensive foundation that is required in any good team is beginning to take shape.

When you add that to the attacking play then Aberdeen can go into the St Johnstone game on Saturday with a lot of optimism.

If they can secure another three points in Perth, it would bring huge confidence going forward towards the Premiership winter break in early January.

Given Aberdeen’s form and the games coming up, they should be looking to push for the top four going into that break.

The resurgence of Funso Ojo

This season Funso Ojo has turned around his Aberdeen career and is now a key player in Stephen Glass’ side.

Ojo was sent on loan to Wigan Athletic for the second half of last season and during the summer it looked like his time at Pittodrie could be over.

However, he has played in a number of positions this season – midfield, going forward, the left hand side and right-back.

Aberdeen’s Funso-King Ojo (16) and Aberdeen’s Scott Brown (8) battles for possession against St Mirren.

Ojo has started in a right-back position in recent games where, if everyone was fit, I don’t think manager Stephen Glass would look to play him there.

Young Calvin Ramsay, who is currently out injured, has been outstanding in that right-back role.

When you are really stretched by injuries it is a manager’s dream to have a player with the versatility of Ojo – a player that is open to play in any position the manager wants him to play.

Aberdeen’s Funso Ojo shoots at goal against St Mirren at Pittodrie.

And then to not just take the challenge on, but produce top-quality performances in every position he has been asked to occupy.

Last season, whenever I saw Ojo play I had him down as a defensive midfielder.

However, this season he has been an offensive midfielder and right-back.

Ojo has been very effective and influential in both positions.

He has found positions that have suited him and has got his mojo back.

The manager must be delighted with some of the performances he is producing.

It is good news for Ojo, manager Stephen Glass and the Aberdeen fans.

Aberdeen’s versatile player Funso Ojo in possession against St Mirren.

Positive Scottish Cup draw for Dons

I’m sure Aberdeen fans will be happy that when I picked the Dons out of the hat for the Scottish Cup it was a home tie against a lower league club.

I made the Scottish Cup fourth round draw last week after Brechin City’s 1-1 draw at home with Darvel.

I’m not suggesting for a second it’s going to be easy for Aberdeen in the fourth round.

However, I’m sure facing League Two Edinburgh City at home is a draw the Red Army will be happy with.

Aberdeen will play Edinburgh City at Pittodrie on Saturday, January 22.

The Scottish Cup offers an opportunity for manager Stephen Glass to get a positive run in the tournament to build excitement.

It is trophy which is hugely treasured in Aberdeen, with the club having won it so many times during the Eighties.

A run in the Scottish Cup would bring some real excitement to the Red Army.

Unfortunately Aberdeen exited the League Cup earlier this season at the first time of asking when losing 2-1 at Raith Rovers.

Aberdeen supporters have not experienced a cup run this season.

Ideally, facing Edinburgh City will be the first step towards changing that.

However, Edinburgh City will be fired up to cause a shock, so Aberdeen must also be highly motivated.

I’m sure manager Stephen Glass will have them ready for the tie and the Dons will take absolutely nothing for granted.