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Duncan Shearer: Jim Goodwin has quickly made this Aberdeen team his own

Aberdeen boss Jim Goodwin has lost out in the race to sign Tobias Lauritsen, but landed Bojan Miovski.
Jim Goodwin's revamp of Aberdeen is gathering speed

In the space of a month Aberdeen have been firmly transformed into Jim Goodwin’s team.

It is no surprise to see so many players coming in and out of Pittodrie. After all, last season was a pretty horrendous one for my old club, all things considered.

But Goodwin has wasted no time in putting his stamp on the side.

By my reckoning, nine of the players signed by Stephen Glass have departed, with only Christian Ramirez, Marley Watkins, David Bates, Dante Polvara and Vicente Besuijen remaining.

On top of that, Andy Considine, Dylan McGeouch, Funso Ojo and Michael Ruth were not offered new deals, while Dean Campbell has gone on out on loan for the season.

Andy Considine has joined St Johnstone after leaving the Dons.
Andy Considine has joined St Johnstone after leaving the Dons.

With Goodwin also hinting other members of his squad have been told they can go if they find new clubs elsewhere, it is clear he has a firm idea of which players he will be utilising in the new season.

To be fair to Goodwin, he has done pretty much the same as what his predecessor did. The only difference is the current manager was judged on somebody else’s team from February to May.

I’ve no problem with that and thankfully neither did Goodwin. He came in and was responsible for training and setting the team out.

But the last week has shown we are firmly in a new era now, following the signing of Bojan Miovski, Kelle Roos, Jayden Richardson, Anthony Stewart and Liam Scales, who have joined Goodwin’s first addition  Ylber Ramadani in making the move to the Dons.

With the promise of more to come, the manager will spend the next couple of weeks putting his new-look side together ahead of the Premier Sports Cup opener at Peterhead on July 10.

Forget styles of play – revamped Dons just need to focus on winning games

I would not read too much into any talk of formations or style of play. Every manager talks about how they want their team to play, but fans are really interested in one thing only in my opinion – winning football matches.

Aberdeen's Jayden Richardson during the pre-season friendly against Buckie Thistle on Saturday.
Aberdeen’s Jayden Richardson during the pre-season friendly against Buckie Thistle on Saturday.

With that in mind Goodwin’s focus has been on addressing two areas of concern for Aberdeen. The first was their poor clean sheet record and the second was the lack of goals in the team.

The arrivals of Scales, Stewart and Richardson, not to mention a new goalkeeper in Roos to challenge Joe Lewis, should go a long way to addressing the goals-against column.

People will be expecting big things of Miovski, but it is clear the manager is still looking for some more creativity in there with Conor Ronan and Jamie McGrath still high on his list of signing targets.

I remain hopeful the quality of guys coming in could convince Lewis Ferguson to hang around for another season at least.

There has been a lot of speculation about the midfielder, who finished last season as the club’s top scorer, but he is such an important player for Aberdeen and I hope we will see him in a red shirt when the window closes.

Ross County implementing long-term planning

Malky Mackay.
Malky Mackay.

What a difference a year has made for Malky Mackay and Ross County.

His arrival in Dingwall last year was a rollercoaster with several high-profile senior players ushered out the door within days of his arrival.

It sparked a frantic search for new players, with six joining on loan and six others coming in on free transfers before the window closed on August 31.

I don’t think I’m stretching plausibility to suggest there may have been an element of sight unseen with some of the players brought to the club.

Fast forward 12 months and it is clear there is a more calculated approach being taken at County.

Kazeem Olaigbe has become the fifth new face at the club this summer after joining the club on loan from Southampton.

Permanent deals offer County protection

What’s interesting is the fact three of the five new faces on board so far are all permanent signings on two or three-year contracts.

That tells me a couple of things. Firstly, the benefit of finishing in the top half of the Premiership last season bought County an extra few weeks to start formulating plans for the new season.

I know from my time at Caley Thistle with Steve Paterson, we would come to the end of the season wondering which league we would be playing in at times and I cannot stress enough how challenging that can make recruitment.

Secondly, it also shows Mackay has the confidence of the club and the players he has brought in to be able to offer contracts rather than rely heavily on the loan market.

There will always be guys who do well and move on to pastures new, but having players under contract for a couple of years offers the club some security.

Most important of all, it gives County the possibility of a return on their investment should clubs coming calling for their players.

Highland League was a step too far for Fort William

It is official – Fort William will be playing in the North Caledonian League next season.

I’ve had several discussions with friends about this,  but I am of the belief it will be a good thing for the club.

Following a promising start when they were first admitted to the Highland League, it has been a tough time for the club and no-one has enjoyed seeing the team ship double figures in games.

I believe the Highland League has been a step above the level the club is capable of competing in.

They have had periods where they have been more competitive in games, but the pattern by and large has been one of losing most weeks and that can only happen so long before people lose interest.

It's been a struggle for Fort William.
It’s been a struggle for Fort William.

Fort, for me, should be in the North Caley League. It will be a platform to give some younger lads a chance and for the club it might lead to them winning games.

I don’t see Fort back in the Highland League anytime soon, but I hope the players at the club can get back to enjoying their football and playing with smiles on their faces again.

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