Evening Express

Target man Cosgrove has sights set on first competitive Aberdeen goal

Aberdeen's Sam Cosgrove celebrates his goal against West Brom with Gary Mackay-Steven

Sam Cosgrove says his best form in an Aberdeen shirt is yet to come and he is confident he’ll net his first competitive goal sooner rather than later.

Since joining the Dons from Carlisle United in January the striker has only scored in a friendly against West Brom.

The 21-year-old is still waiting for his first strike in a competitive game but is confident that will come soon.

Cosgrove has started the Dons’ first three games this season: both legs of the Europa League qualifier with Burnley and Sunday’s Premiership opener against Rangers. He is also in contention to start this afternoon against Dundee at Dens Park.

The former Wigan man had a strong finish to last season, starting in the Reds’ last four post-split fixtures.

He admits that at this early stage in his Aberdeen career he did not expect to play quite so much. Cosgrove feels he is improving with every game but reckons the Red Army have yet to see his best form – and he is keen to show it in the weeks ahead.

He said: “The game time I’ve been getting is absolutely invaluable to me for my performance and development.

“It’s exactly what I want to be doing and the calibre of games we’ve been playing in will be nothing but good for me personally.

“I think it would be naive to say I expected to play as much as I have but I definitely knew that I could; it’s early in my time here but there’s no point in just plodding along and getting the odd game.

“I wanted to come here and really stamp my authority and I think I have done. It’s just getting to that next level – whether that’s goals, assists or high-quality performances, I feel I need to kick on.

“I do feel there is more to come because I’m learning every game and getting better. The things you learn aren’t always obvious but there’s little things you pick up in games, like where to buy fouls and places to get free from defenders. Everything is adding up but I am still learning.

“It does always play (not scoring) on your mind because as a striker it’s my main job, to score. But there’s a lot of work that goes under the radar, like working off the ball and holding up play and things that are vital for the team.

“It’s the final piece, whether it’s an assist or a goal, that does get noticed and I’m just trying as hard as I can to do it all. I’m hoping the goals will come and once I get the first one, I’m hoping I can get more.”

Cosgrove is also looking forward to savouring the moment of netting his first competitive goal for the Dons. He added: “It will be massive for me because it’s my job to score. Part of it will feel normal, but getting your first goal for a club is always special.”

Ahead of today’s game against Dundee, Cosgrove says the Dons have a point to prove after what he feels was a below-par performance in the 1-1 draw with 10-man Rangers on Sunday.

He said: “We’re disappointed with the performance on Sunday. But we’ve come away with a point and it does feel like a good point given the circumstances. Last week was the weeks we want to be playing in. We had a tough game down at Turf Moor against Burnley and then there was no better game than Rangers to come back to at Pittodrie.

“As tough as it was, we were massively looking forward to it and they are the games we want to be playing week in and week out.

“Now, though, the main focus is on Dundee and we’re looking forward to getting going again because we’ve got a point to prove, performance-wise.

“We’ve had a good week’s training, we’re feeling and looking sharp so hopefully we can take that into the game. There’s been excuses about tiredness on Sunday but, as a team and a club, the performance wasn’t up to standard at all.

“The Rangers game was massively disappointing but the belief is still there within the squad that there’s a lot more to come. Everyone has blips but we’ll bounce back and get the performances we need.”