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Aberdeen goal hero Duk ‘champing at the bit’ for first start but will have to wait, warns boss Jim Goodwin

Aberdeen's Luis Lopes scores to make it 1-0 with a sublime scissors kick.
Aberdeen's Luis Lopes scores to make it 1-0 with a sublime scissors kick.

Aberdeen boss Jim Goodwin has warned Duk may have to wait for a starting slot despite his recent goal-scoring heroics.

Summer signing Luis ‘Duk’ Lopes netted a sensational bicycle kick in the 1-1 draw with Ross County at the weekend.

It was the second successive game former Benfica striker Duk came off the bench to score.

The Cape Verde international has yet to start for the Dons since signing from the Portuguese giants.

Secured for an undisclosed six-figure sum, Duk has featured as a substitute in nine games but wants a starting slot.

Aberdeen next face Rangers at Pittodrie on Saturday knowing a win would elevate them above the Ibrox side up to second in the Premiership.

Goodwin hailed 22-year-old Duk for his ‘brilliant’ contribution in recent games – however, he insists that £535,000 signing Bojan Miovski remains first-choice striker.

And Goodwin intends to stick with starting just one out-and-out striker in a 4-2-3-1 formation.

That means Duk faces a battle to oust Miovski, who has hit six goals in eight games.

Aberdeen’s Luis Lopes celebrates after scoring to make it 1-0 against Ross County.

Goodwin said: “Duk is champing at the bit to get a starting spot in the team.

“He has been brilliant in the last four games he has come on in.

“Duk has made an impact in every single game.

“However Miovski has the jersey and the formation we are playing only has one out-and-out striker.”

Aberdeen’s Luis Lopes celebrates making it 2-1 in extra time against Annan Athletic.

Duk makes a scoring impact again

North Macedonian striker Miovski was the marquee summer signing and has started every game since arriving at Pittodrie.

Duk was secured on a three-year contract from Benfica as part of an extensive summer rebuild by Goodwin.

He scored 11 goals in 42 games for Benfica B in Liga Portugal B.

Prior to that, the striker netted 18 times in 41 appearances for Benfica’s under-23 side.

On his introduction off the bench at Dingwall, Duk played up front with Miovski.

Goodwin opted to go with two strikers midway through the second half in a bid to exploit a defence sitting deep.

He said: “I just felt that at that particular moment in time (against Ross County) we didn’t need the extra midfielder.

“I thought there was an opportunity to get at the Ross County back line as they were sat quite deep.

“We wanted to go with an extra striker (Duk) because we weren’t happy to draw 0-0.

“We wanted to get a goal and it almost worked perfectly.

“Unfortunately we weren’t able to see it through.”

Goodwin hails ‘incredible finish’

Duk represented Portugal at under-18 and under-19 level, but made his Cape Verde senior debut against Ecuador in June this year.

He netted his first Aberdeen goal in a 4-1 Premiership defeat of St Mirren on August 6.

Duk bagged his third Dons’ goal with an audacious bicycle kick against Ross County in the 88th minute.

It should have been enough to secure the club’s third successive Premiership win for the first time since December 2021.

However, the Reds conceded five minutes into injury time.

Goodwin said: “It was an incredible finish and one worthy of winning any match.

“The build-up to the goal was brilliant from Duk as well.

“It was a great counter-attack as we had a three against two situation on the halfway line.

“Duk did great to take the ball in, then turn to feed it out to the wide left area.

“Then he had that hunger and desire to get into the box and get between the sticks.

“The celebrations behind the goal when he scored – it was great to see.

“We were all extremely excited in the dugout as well as we thought we had done enough because of how tight the game was.

“One goal looked like being enough to get the job done.

“Unfortunately we weren’t able to see it out.”

Could Ramirez still leave Aberdeen?

Such is the form of Miovski and Duk, last season’s recognised first-choice striker Christian Ramirez has been frozen out.

Another front-line addition, Luis Lopes, nets for Aberdeen against St Mirren.

United States international Ramirez netted 15 times for the Reds last season.

However, the 31-year-old has been omitted from Goodwin’s 20-man squad in the last three games.

He has played just 18 minutes of the opening six Premiership games of the season.

Contracted until summer next year, there was speculation Ramirez could exit Pittodrie in the summer transfer window.

Ramirez remained at Aberdeen when the window shut at midnight on Thursday.

However, the transfer window remains open in some European countries.

Aberdeen’s Christian Ramirez has remained at the club after the transfer window shut.

The transfer window in nations including Belgium, Bulgaria and Slovakia closes on Tuesday night.

Czech Republic and Turkey’s windows close on Thursday with Morocco’s transfer deadline day on Friday.

In Greece, the transfer window closes on Thursday, September 15.

Further afield from Europe, Australia’s transfer window remains open until September 13 – next Tuesday.

Goodwin said: “The transfer window is closed although it’s still open in some parts of Europe.

“But Christian is very much an Aberdeen player.

Aberdeen’s Christian Ramirez scores to make it 2-0 against Stirling Albion.

“At the moment, Bojan Miovski’s playing well, Duk has been incredible and there’s a couple of players ahead of Christian at the moment.

“But if Christian knuckles down and works hard, then we know what a quality striker we’ve got.”