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Richard Gordon: Jim Goodwin has all the tools to be a success at Aberdeen

New Dons boss Jim Goodwin
New Dons boss Jim Goodwin

It will have been a busy week for Jim Goodwin as he settles into his new role as Aberdeen manager and gets to know and build relationships with the first team squad.

Anticipating his appointment, I wrote in last week’s column of my admiration for the Irishman, highlighting his journey through the management ranks, and identified him as my number one candidate.

I was absolutely thrilled last Saturday morning when the club confirmed it had secured his services.

As a player, Jim was renowned for his no-nonsense approach, but his game was about more than that, he was better than he was given credit for.

He was a major driving force for St Mirren during his five years in Paisley.

He also captained the Saints to their League Cup triumph in 2013, so knows what it takes to be a winner.

Jim Goodwin is sent off at Motherwell in 2014

No stranger to a red card, he was sent-off half a dozen times during his career in Scottish football, but he has generally been more composed in the dugout.

He almost always comes across as measured during the potentially stressful arena of the post-match interview.

He is clearly an intelligent man, speaks well about the game, and will I am sure, forge a strong bond with his players.

That doesn’t guarantee anything, but it is an important factor, and allied to the experience he has gained, will go a long way towards making his time at Pittodrie a successful one.

Shoring up leaky defence is the first priority

His first task will be to organise the back line and make the Dons much harder to score against.

Stephen Glass’ inability to get to grips with that played a huge part in his departure; given what he did at St Mirren, it is something I fully expect Jim to rectify, giving the team a more solid base from which to build.

That said, he is by no means a defensive-minded manager.

Jim will encourage dynamism and quick counter-attacking, something Saints looked to use to effect during his time there.

He will also demand the correct attitude from those he selects.

As a player, he never stepped on to the pitch without believing his team could win any match, and he will look for that same determination and confidence in his men.

Having interviewed him many times and had him as a guest on radio programmes, I have always enjoyed listening to Jim talking about football.

He comes across in a straightforward, uncomplicated way and clearly knows the game inside out.

The Dons players will tune into that and should benefit from his approach.

Europe still a realistic aim for Aberdeen

With the league table as tight as it is, there is obviously still a real opportunity for Aberdeen to achieve European football for a ninth successive season, and it was good to hear the manager spelling that out as a key objective.

Third place is probably a stretch too far, but fourth is eminently achievable, and that would secure entry to the second qualifying round for the Conference League.

With that as a target, and for some, the need to impress their new boss to preserve their future with the Dons, there is still plenty there to drive the players forward over the next three months.

The conclusion to the campaign seems eminently more appealing than it did just over a week ago.

Cove in good shape as they bid to reach first SPFL cup final

Next Tuesday will be a massive occasion for Cove Rangers as the club plays its first national semi-final since gaining promotion to the SPFL.

Queen of the South represent a step-up in terms of quality of opposition they have faced in the Challenge Cup.

But having comfortably disposed of the Palmerston outfit in a Scottish Cup replay, Paul Hartley’s men will be approaching the tie in a confident frame of mind.

Cove Rangers manager Paul Hartley.

On Saturday they will be firmly focused on their trip to Alloa, and the chance to move closer to the League One title, but the moment the final whistle blows it will be all eyes on the Dumfries side.

Reaching a major final at this stage in their progression would be an incredible achievement for Cove.

However, they have the talent within the squad to do just that and it would be another step towards making it a memorable centenary year.

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