Curtis Main’s performance against Ross County showed Aberdeen have good striking options beyond Sam Cosgrove.
Dons boss Derek McInnes opted to bench Cosgrove in favour of Main – who grabbed both goals in the win over the Staggies.
Main has enhanced his chances of getting a regular run in the Reds side, while Cosrgove needs to respond to regain his place.
The 28-year-old took his first goal well, it perhaps came to him slightly by surprise, but he made sure he stuck it away.
The Englishman’s second goal was expertly taken – it was a clinical finish and the decision taken by McInnes to start Main payed dividends.
Cosgrove hasn’t looked the same as he did last season since coming back from injury – his fine goal against Hibs last month aside – and his overall performances have been a bit lacklustre.
The Englishman also hasn’t been as sharp in front of goal so the decision to drop him to the bench and bring Main in from the start was understandable.
McInnes sees the players every day in training and sees what they are producing on a day-to-day basis and now that Main seems to be clear of niggling injuries we’ve seen the displays he can produce.
And there’s no question it was the right decision made by McInnes to bring Main in, not just on the evidence of Saturday, but also previous performances and results.
Managers get plenty of criticism if they make changes and they don’t work so in this instance McInnes deserves credit because the change he made worked a treat as Main got both goals to deliver a much-needed three points.
Competition for places is important to bring the best out of players and Main is providing that for Cosgrove at the moment.
The reason McInnes has been able to assemble the squad he has is to provide competition and quality in every position.
Main starting on Saturday and taking his chance will show Cosgrove that although he has been Aberdeen’s main threat in the past if he is not performing close to his best and scoring regularly then there are other options there.
Main is one of those and he made the most of his opportunity and now it’s up to Cosgrove to respond to try to win his place back and having that competition is a positive thing and there’s no reason why you can’t play both in the same team if they are both in good form.
Every manager is looking for these options and every manager wants at least one regular goalscorer in the team, if they can get more then that’s even better.
Main is in position at the moment as the Dons’ main threat and the player tasked with being a regular goalscorer, if Cosgrove wants to reclaim that position he needs to dislodge him.
A victory the Dons deserved and needed
Assessing Saturday’s game overall, it was a deserved win for Aberdeen to end a run of four without victory.
The way the Dons started made a big difference, getting the opener after only five minutes.
The Staggies started with a very defensive formation with a five-man defence and four across midfield.
So the Reds getting an early goal eased the pressure on them to try to break down the Dingwall side.
County did make it difficult for Aberdeen in the second half and tried to mount a comeback.
They had a couple of chances which if they had taken may have led to them getting something out of the game.
But for the Dons it was a better display after a disappointing run of results and performances.
It keeps them nicely in contention at the top end of the Premiership one point behind Hibs and three points behind Celtic.
Although the Reds weren’t on top form they got the job done against Ross County.
The Dons face Kilmarnock, Motherwell and Livingston away and St Johnstone at Dundee United at home between this Sunday and January 2 and will be hoping to string together a winning run.
Would Ross Stewart deal be a shrewd move for Aberdeen?
Aberdeen are set to make a move to sign Ross Stewart on a pre-contract agreement in January and if they can get him it would be good business.
The Ross County striker would give the Dons another good option up front if they could land him.
On Saturday Stewart, 24, was a pretty lonely figure until Billy Mckay came on and gave him some much-needed support.
He was unlucky not to score with an effort which went just beyond the near post, while Joe Lewis made a great save on another occasion to deny him.
Stewart has a lot of good attributes – he’s tall and a physical presence as well as being very mobile and a decent finisher.
If Derek McInnes is able to bring Stewart to Aberdeen it would be good business, particularly if there is more interest in Sam Cosgrove, if an offer came in that the Dons couldn’t refuse then Stewart would be an ideal replacement.