Aberdeen boss Jim Goodwin has praised “absolutely fantastic” on-loan Liverpool midfield star Leighton Clarkson.
The 20-year-old netted a stunning 25 yard free-kick to fire the Dons to a 1-0 away win at St Johnstone.
It was Clarkson’s second screamer since joining on a season-long loan from the English Premier League giants.
Clarkson also netted a sublime long-range goal on his debut recently in the recent 4-1 defeat of St Mirren.
That is two sensational goals in just three games for England U20 international.
Goodwin insists he wanted to sign “game changers” in the summer transfer window and is confident Clarkson fits that bill.
Clarkson has already started a Champions League game for Liverpool.
He played all 90 minutes in a 1-1 group match draw with FC Midtjylland in December 2020.
Clarkson has also played for the six-time European champions in the FA Cup and League Cup.
However, Goodwin has warned he will have to bulk up in preparation for the English Premier League after his loan spell ends.
He said: “Leighton is a quality player who technically is absolutely fantastic.
“That free-kick was a real bit of quality.
“You need that bit of individual brilliance sometimes.
“When you sign those quality of players, you hope you have a match winner.
“Technically, we know exactly what we’re going to get.
“Physically, he needs to bulk up a little bit if he’s going to go back to Liverpool and play in the Premier League.
“Leighton is very brave on the ball, he takes it in tight areas and looks to play forward.
“That is something we want from our midfield players.
“More forward runs and forward passes.”
Concern Hayes may take free-kick
The dead-ball situation came following a foul on veteran Jonny Hayes who made his 300th appearance for the Dons.
Goodwin was concerned Hayes was going to take the free-kick – and shouted from the sidelines for Clarkson to step up.
WHAT. A. GOAL
— Aberdeen FC (@AberdeenFC) August 7, 2022
The Dons boss joked: “I was petrified Jonny was going to take it – I’ve not seen Jonny hit the target from a free-kick in God knows how long.
“I was shouting to let Leighton hit it and thankfully he stepped aside.”
First Premiership away win in 2022
Aberdeen bounced back from a disappointing 3-2 loss to Motherwell last weekend with a deserved victory.
It was the Reds’ first away win in the Premiership in 2022.
They last won on the road in the league with a 1-0 victory at St Johnstone last December.
Goodwin had called for an immediate response after the Motherwell defeat.
He was delighted his players stepped up and delivered a win to leap-frog the Reds back into the Premiership top six.
Goodwin said: “I thought the boys were excellent.
“The reaction after last weekend was really important.
“Football is easy when you’re winning games and confidence is high.
“But it’s when you lose games, especially in the manner we did last week, you look for a reaction and find out a lot about people.
“The week’s training we’ve had backed up with the performance today is everything I was hoping for.
“I think we were well worth the victory.”
Vital victory at a tough venue
Aberdeen had a goal chalked off in the first half when Bojan Miovski was adjudged to be offside when heading in.
Goodwin said: “I don’t want to be disrespectful to St Johnstone because you know what you’re going to get.
“Callum (Davidson) is a good, young manager and sets his team up to be very hard to beat.
“I’ve never had great success coming here as a player and manager with St Mirren. It’s always been a difficult venue.
“People will see a 1-0 win and think it was a close game but we were in control and are disappointed not to score more goals.”