Aberdeen boss McInnes in praise of debut scorer Wilson as strike dumps Well in Premiership

James Wilson slots the opener against Motherwell.
James Wilson slots the opener against Motherwell.

Boss Derek McInnes today insisted loan star James Wilson can bring the goal-scoring X-Factor to the Dons.

Manchester United striker Wilson netted just six minutes into his first Reds’ start to shoot down Motherwell 1-0.

Wilson’s first Dons’ goal was today hailed as “outstanding” by Pittodrie assistant Tony Docherty.

It was a Pittodrie debut to remember for the 22-year-old who McInnes believes will be loved by the Red Army.

Wilson penned a season-long loan deal from the Premier League giants but injuries have restricted him to just one substitute appearance in a 1-1 draw at Hibs.

The former England U21 cap recovered from a tight hamstring to make an explosive first Dons start.

Now Wilson is set to lead the line against Hibs in the League Cup quarter-final at Easter Road tomorrow.

McInnes said: “James is someone who can potentially give us that X-Factor.

“We feel we are working with a player who can give us exceptional speed, technical ability and, hopefully, goals.

“The supporters will love him and love a number nine that can score goals.

“Although it is a small step, it is a step in the right direction.

“We are delighted to have him available as it was a key position to strengthen.

“Apart from the St Mirren game (4-0 League Cup win), we had not been capitalising on chances.

“We had 20 shots at St Johnstone and had to score from a free-kick, so we were well aware we need to carry that threat.”

Wilson has a habit of scoring on first starts for clubs.

He netted a double on his first start for Manchester United in a 3-1 defeat of Hull City in May 2014.

Then on loan at Brighton, he did the same again, finding the back of the net on his first start – a 3-2 defeat of Charlton in December 2015.

In January this year, he again scored a goal on his first start for Sheffield United in a 2-1 away win at Norwich.

Pittodrie assistant Docherty was confident he would add the Dons to his list of debut goals.

Docherty said: “James Wilson’s finish was outstanding and it was the finish of a natural striker.

“It’s a great feeling when you see a striker in that position.

“He’s been struggling with injury and we’ve been wanting to get him in the side.

“James just needs game-time to get him up to speed. It’s important, playing in front of the home fans, to get off to a good start and he certainly did that.

“We’ve not scored too many open play goals but when you see James in that position, you’re confident he’s going to score.

“He’s a confident boy and a good player, but it’s more getting him on the pitch.”

That game-time will come tomorrow in a League Cup quarter-final with Hibs in Edinburgh.

Docherty said: “ It’s been a frustrating time for James as he has had niggling injury after niggling injury.

“It was important we got 60 minutes into him but we’ve got an important game against Hibs.”

Aberdeen ended a run of three games without a win where they had taken just two from a possible nine points.

That return had seen them drop to eighth position in the Premiership table.

As the first of a huge triple header with Hibs coming up tomorrow and then a league trip to Celtic on Saturday, Docherty acknowledged the significance of the win.

The victory came in the light of the Reds being outmuscled in both cup tournaments by the Steelmen last season, losing 3-0 in the Scottish Cup and League Cup.

He said: “It was a really important win. Motherwell make it really tough for you and we stood up to it.

“It’s well-documented they have that identity.

“We had to stand up to that and made sure we were resolute.

“The defenders and Joe Lewis deserve credit for keeping a clean sheet.”