Derek McInnes praised striker Sam Cosgrove for defying the doubters as he made it 20 goals for the season with a double in Aberdeen’s 2-0 Ladbrokes Premiership win at Dundee.
The 22-year-old opened the scoring with a 59th-minute penalty before wrapping up the points with his 20th strike of the season.
The former Carlisle striker has come on leaps and bounds under McInnes, who was full of praise for his player.
McInnes said: “I’m delighted for Sam to reach that milestone and prove his doubters wrong, although there are still some out there.
“He has shouldered the responsibility so well for a young man and that speaks volumes for him.
“Adam Rooney was the last striker (for the club) to get this amount of goals and it’s always good for an Aberdeen striker to get that sort of return.
“Of course, Sam’s still got some improvement in his game, but that will come with time.
“I’m delighted with the win overall. The first half clearly wasn’t good enough, but we stepped it up after the break and got our just rewards.
Victory for Aberdeen kept them level on points with third-placed Kilmarnock, but Dundee’s defeat deepened their relegation fears.
The hosts slipped three points adrift at the foot of the table and manager Jim McIntyre admits time is running out for his side.
“It’s do-or-die. There’s no point pretending otherwise,” he said.
“The games are running out and we all know what the fixtures are ahead of us in the split.
“We don’t have a game for a couple of weeks now, so maybe that will give us a chance to refocus and then we’ll go again.
“But we know what we what we have to do and it’s only us that can change things.
“We put so much into this game, but how many times have we said that this season?
“The boys put so much endeavour and spirit into it, but obviously the penalty is the defining moment.
“After that, we had to change things and you can leave yourself open chasing things which proved the case.”