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Duncan Shearer: Jim Goodwin making his mark already at Aberdeen

New Dons boss Jim Goodwin with Jonny Hayes
New Dons boss Jim Goodwin with Jonny Hayes

I’m pleased to see Jim Goodwin making an instant impression after taking charge at Aberdeen.

The Dons have wasted little time in replacing Stephen Glass with my former Pittodrie team-mate dismissed and replaced within a week.

The speed of the appointment tells me chairman Dave Cormack has a good idea of who he wanted to replace the last manager.

Goodwin’s departure from St Mirren for the Dons all happened within the space of 24 hours which tells me how not only how keen Aberdeen were to get this done but also how much the new man wanted make the move north.

But above all else it was his desire to be in the dugout for Saturday’s 1-1 draw at Motherwell which really caught my eye.

His appointment was only confirmed at 8am and it would have been easy to sit in the stand at Fir Park and let Barry Robson take the team for the game.

But Goodwin wanted to let the players see he and his assistant Lee Sharp are now in charge and time is of the essence.

It may appear a small thing but the decision to don the tracksuit straight away sends a clear message to them players there is a new man in charge and he is there with them literally from day one.

As I said last week time will tell whether this is the right appointment for Aberdeen.

You can hope for the best when employing someone but there is an element of risk and it is only through achieving results in the weeks and months ahead when we will be able to gauge whether it was the right decision.

Goodwin has wasted no time in setting his stall out.

He spoke with authority about his desire to achieve a European spot and believes he has the quality in his squad to achieve it this season.

He also put the players on notice they will all be assessed in the final 11 games of the campaign.

That assessment started on Saturday with the decision to play Ross McCrorie in midfield.

Ross McCrorie at full-time against Motherwell.

McCrorie has played at centre back all season as that was where the former manager believed he could make the biggest contribution.

His new manager saw things differently on Saturday. It may be that his hand was forced in the absence of Scott Brown due to injury but something tells me we might see McCrorie back in the engine room more regularly now.

I’m hopeful we will see Andy Considine back in the fold sometime soon too which would be a welcome boost not just for the manager but also for the team.

Andy is a veteran now but he brings experience and composure, two qualities the defence in particular has lacked this season.

The new manager has another decision to make in terms of Scott Brown. St Mirren have been given permission to speak to Brown about replacing Goodwin but there are others in the frame.

Maybe Scott feels it is time to move on after seeing the rest of the coaching staff relieved of their duties or perhaps the manager feels he still has a role to play at Pittodrie.

Time will tell.

County remain in a strong position in the Premiership

St Johnstone and Dundee are fighting for their lives in the Scottish Premiership but I would still rather be in Ross County’s position right now.

The Staggies, who lost at Hibs on Saturday, host the Saints at Victoria Park on Saturday in what promises to be a massive game for both clubs.

Callum Davidson’s side will be thinking they can haul County back into the dogfight at the bottom with victory in Dingwall but it will be easier said than done.

Ross County manager Malky Mackay.

Malky Mackay’s side has been strong at home recently and they will fancy their chances of extending that record this weekend.

The pressure is on Perth Saints to get a result. County know if they can move seven points clear of their opponents with 10 games to go.

It’s a decent position to be in and I don’t believe the County players are looking over their shoulders at this point.

They are focused on reeling in the sides above them and they will have some space to do that if they come out on top this weekend.

It’s now or never for Caley Thistle

Caley Thistle head coach Billy Dodds
Caley Thistle head coach Billy Dodds

I wish I could say Caley Thistle are not feeling a little nervous about their predicament in the Championship.

I was at Caledonian Stadium on Saturday and it was another frustrating afternoon for Billy Dodds and his players as they lost 2-1 at home to Ayr United.

It looks if automatic promotion might just be beyond Inverness at this point with Arbroath and Kilmarnock, as it stands, set to fight it out for the title.

Partick Thistle could come into that equation if they win their games in hand but from a Caley Jags point of view it was more of the same from the team on Saturday – an inability to stick the ball in the back of the net and defend their own goal properly.

I felt Saturday was a must-win for the club and they came up short.

Forget the title for now and focus on stopping the rot and building some momentum again as their play-off hopes hinge on them finding some form again.

Nine games without a win and five home defeats is not the form of a team going for promotion.

With their place in the top four becoming increasingly precarious Inverness have 10 games left to turn their season around, starting with Friday’s game against a Hamilton Accies side which has enjoyed success against them already in the campaign.