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Duncan Shearer: Duk on song – but Bojan Miovski should lead Aberdeen attack at Hampden

Bojan Miovski is having a lean spell in front of goal
Bojan Miovski is having a lean spell in front of goal

The goals are flowing for Dons striker Luis “Duk” Lopes but I would still go with Bojan Miovski to lead the line for Aberdeen at Hampden on Sunday.

Former Benfica striker Duk took his tally to the season to 11 with his double in Saturday’s 2-0 win against St Johnstone at Pittodrie.

Duk is a man full of confidence and he is clearly enjoying his football at Pittodrie.

But the same can’t be said for Miovski since his return to action after the World Cup.

The North Macedonian international’s last goal for the Dons was the only goal of the game in the win against Dundee United on November 12.

But, despite a six-match barren run in front of goal, I would still go with Miovski against Rangers in the League Cup semi-final this weekend.

Duk has much to contribute regardless of where he plays – and he will play – but Miovski is the number nine at Pittodrie for a reason.

He may not have put the ball in the back of the net against Saints, but I would be more concerned if he was not creating any chances for himself.

Miovski could have had a couple of goals on Saturday but he is still making the runs and creating the opportunities to score.

Every striker goes through a sticky period in front of goal, but I’ve seen enough from the Dons forward to believe the goals will soon begin to flow again.

Shinnie return a huge boost for the Dons

Graeme Shinnie made an instant impression on his return to Aberdeen. Image: Shutterstock

The return of former Dons skipper Graeme Shinnie to Pittodrie has given everyone at the club a huge lift too ahead of the semi-final.

The 3-2 defeat by Rangers at Pittodrie last month was a bitter pill to swallow for the Dons, but I expect them to be fired up to make amends at the National Stadium.

The result overshadowed what was a very good performance by Aberdeen and it was the late collapse which dominated the headlines rather than the display of the team.

The players should be relishing the chance to have another go, and what better stage than with a place in the final at stake?

Shinnie can only help that cause.

He is such a versatile player, but I am pleased to see him in central midfield alongside Ylber Ramadani as that is where he can make the biggest contribution to the team.

The pre-match talk from Dons boss Jim Goodwin at doing all he could to make Shinnie’s loan from Wigan permanent if it is a success made me smile, too.

I worked with Graeme at Caley Thistle and I know how influential a figure he is in a dressing room.

I know his parents and it was clear from meeting both Graeme and his brother Andrew as young lads that they were raised well.

Andrew is technically a better player than his brother, but Graeme’s tenacity, aggression and drive are characteristics every manager craves in their team.

Those qualities are why he was made captain at Caley Thistle and why he was also given the armband in his first spell with the Dons.

Bringing him back on loan was a no-brainer. Making his return permanent in the summer will be the easiest decision Goodwin makes this year.

Staggies need to stop the rot

Ross County face one of their biggest games of the season this weekend.

I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to suggest the Staggies’ trip to Motherwell on Saturday is a game they cannot lose.

Defeat would leave County six points adrift of Well, who have played a game less than Malky Mackay’s side and that’s a position they cannot afford to be in.

We’re moving firmly into the business part of the season now and the pressure is mounting on the teams at the bottom of the table.

County haven’t won since November 8. Their opponents this weekend last celebrated a win on October 29.

The 2-0 defeat at home to Livingston on Saturday summed up County at the minute.

They are playing reasonably well, but they are not creating much in front of goal and 14 goals scored in 21 league games tells the story of their season so far.

When that happens, invariably any goal conceded can be fatal to your hopes of picking up points and it does feel as if the Staggies just cannot find the net on a regular basis.

It needs to change – and quickly, and I have little doubt the manager will be looking at attacking options this month.

Caley Thistle are getting back on track

Caley Jags head coach Billy Dodds has seen his side score 10 goals in two games. Image: Euan Cherry/SNS Group

I’m over the moon for my old pal Billy Dodds after seeing his Caley Thistle side hit their stride again.

It was little more than a week ago and questions were being asked of the Inverness boss due to a poor run of results from his injury-ravaged side.

But two games, 10 goals and six points later, suddenly everything is looking a whole lot better at Caledonian Stadium.

When they beat Cove Rangers 6-1, I did wonder if it was a just a very good day at the office, but to go to Arbroath – who have signed a few players and had won 4-2 at Dundee in their previous outing – and score four times must have been satisfying.

They are looking sharp and loan winger Jay Henderson had another impressive outing in his second game.

It will be interesting to see how they do when league leaders Queen’s Park visit Caledonian Stadium this weekend.

A win would a be a real message of intent from the Highlanders

they remain very much in the hunt for promotion this season.

I counted them out of the title a few weeks ago as I felt there were too many teams ahead of them, but, in this most unpredictable of Championship title races, maybe I was too hasty.

Time will tell.

One thing’s for sure, though, with seven teams all in the promotion mix in a 10-team league, it is shaping up to be a thrilling second half of the season.