Striker Rooney can get the goals to seal Aberdeen’s second charge

© Picture by Darrell Benns
Aberdeen's Adam Rooney.

For the last three seasons striker Adam Rooney has delivered the goals to fire Aberdeen to a runners-up Premiership finish – and he aims to do the same again this campaign.

Last term, prolific scorer Rooney became the first Dons player to hit 20 goals in three consecutive seasons since club legend Joe Harper in 1979.

He hit double figures for this season with a brace in the 4-2 defeat of Ross County to elevate the Reds above Rangers, back into second spot in the Premiership.

Now the next target is to hit 20 again to help keep the Reds ahead of the Ibrox club.

With striker Stevie May, the £400,000 summer signing from Preston, out with an ankle injury, the onus is on Rooney to grab the goals.

It is a responsibility he has held in the four years since signing on at the Reds – and he is ready to meet the challenge again.

The 29-year-old, who is set to face Hamilton at Pittodrie tomorrow, said: “I am always confident I will get on the end of something and score, especially with the quality of deliveries into the box here.

“That is six goals in nine games now and I am feeling good and confident.

“I’m on 10 but I always try to hit double figures around Christmas – so I am about a month behind that this year.

“However, I missed the first six weeks of the season through injury and was playing a little catch-up on my fitness.

“So I can’t be too harsh on myself.”

The most prolific goal-scorer at Pittodrie for decades, Rooney’s brace helped move the Dons three points ahead of Rangers, who have a game in hand.

Rangers’ Scottish Cup duty at Highland League Fraserburgh on Wednesday produced an opening for the Reds to leapfrog back into second.

They grabbed it.

He said: “We knew there were three games coming up that if we won them then come the end of the match against Hamilton on Saturday we would be sitting in second regardless.

“With Rangers having the game against Fraserburgh it opened up that chance.

“Obviously we were all disappointed with the performance down at Ibrox recently (2-0 loss).

“But we knew if we won those three (Kilmarnock, Ross County, Hamilton) we would be sitting in second and that is all we can do for the time being.

“We have done the first two parts now hopefully we can finish that off on Saturday against Hamilton.

“We know it is going to be a difficult game again against another team down near the bottom fighting and scrapping.

“However, we are confident, on a good run and playing some good stuff.

“If we reproduce the first 70 minutes we showed against Ross County we are more than capable of going on to get a win.”

Following the win in Dingwall the Dons completed the loan signing of Newcastle United keeper Freddie Woodman until the end of the season.

It was the second transfer deadline day swoop having already secured Carlisle United striker Sam Cosgrove on a two-and-a-half year deal.

Woodman won the U20 World Cup with England last season and Celtic were keen to secure him on deadline day.

Dons boss Derek McInnes was forced to move for a keeper in the transfer window following the injury to No1 Joe Lewis.

The 30-year-old underwent surgery on knee ligament damage earlier this week and is set to be out for up to three months.

Former Republic of Ireland U21 cap Danny Rogers was in goal for the wins over Kilmarnock (3-1) and Ross County.

Dublin-born Rooney said: “It was so disappointing for Joe and any time for it to happen is not a good time.

“However, with it happening in the window we could at least go and get someone in.

“To be fair Danny (Rogers) has been excellent in the last two games.

“I don’t think he has been at fault for any of the goals we conceded, there was nothing he could do.

“His keeping has been good, his handling is confident and he made a number of great saves especially against Kilmarnock.

“He is a really able replacement.

“I have been in Republic of Ireland squads with Danny and have seen how well he has performed there and he was also excellent at Falkirk.

“We know what Danny is capable of.

“With the manager bringing in another keeper there will be competition for places, but we need that with Joe being out injured.”

Rooney’s first-half double in Dingwall blew away bottom side Ross County to extend the Staggies’ winless run to 13. However the striker was left frustrated at conceding two sloppy late Alex Schalk goals.

He said: “For 70 minutes we were excellent and created a lot of chances.

“We dominated for the majority of the game and could have scored even more.

“There was the slight disappointment of conceding two late goals but that was probably just down to a lapse in concentration.

“The main thing was getting three points as we have never come to Ross County and had an easy game.

“Even at half-time we knew they would have a go, they always do and never give up.”