Sam Cosgrove started his Aberdeen career with a disastrous debut against Celtic.
But when he faces the Hoops today his circumstances couldn’t be more different.
And Dons boss Derek McInnes says the striker deserves credit for the way he has recovered from his ropey Reds bow.
Cosgrove arrived at Pittodrie on deadline day in January 2018 from Carlisle United.
The Englishman’s debut for the Dons came at Pittodrie on February 25. He was sent on as sub with 14 minutes left as Aberdeen trailed the Hoops 1-0.
However, after only eight minutes Cosgrove received a red card for a high challenge which chopped down Celtic captain Scott Brown.
After that, many were quick to write off the 22-year-old.
But since then he’s proved them wrong, netting 21 goals last season and bagging 15 in 16 games so far this term, meaning he heads into today’s game as the player Celtic are most wary of.
Reflecting on Cosgrove’s debut and his journey to this point, Pittodrie gaffer McInnes said: “Looking back at that day I actually thought he was a bit unlucky.
“He was just so pumped up and I don’t think there was any malice in what he did, he was just a bit over-eager.
“That was a sobering moment and that was probably the moment when he had reached the bottom and he had to come up from there.
“My god how he has come from there, and it’s a brilliant story for big Sam.
“It’s only going to get better for him and I take confidence from his confidence and how he’s been.
“For me he’s come such a long way in a short space of time and that’s 100% down to him.”
Prior to his debut red card, McInnes says he saw glimpses of what Cosgrove could offer.
He hailed the frontman for making the critics change their minds.
McInnes added: “As bizarre as it sounds in the very little time he was on that day, I thought he caused them one or two problems.
“To start with he was giving us what we wanted. We got the ball into the box a few times because he was holding the ball up and getting us up the pitch.
“We saw a wee hint of what we were going to get, but the red card mars all of that and criticism comes because of that.
“Sam was aware of that and that people were judging him too early. For a young player that’s not always easy to deal with.
“If people are making their mind up that he’s no good it’s tough and I think it was unfair.
“He’s actually managed to change people’s assessment of him since then.”
McInnes has witnessed at close quarters the transformation in Cosgrove.
As well as the goalscoring exploits on the pitch, the Dons boss has seen the hard work put in off the park from Cosgrove to make himself a better player.
With his contract at Pittodrie running until the summer of 2022, McInnes also believes there is more to come from the striker in an Aberdeen shirt.
He said: “You very rarely see that in a young player or a young person now having that confidence. But he has grabbed his opportunity and worked so hard.
“You look at his body shape now and he’s night and day from what he was when he turned up at the club.
“He carries himself like a No 9, he carries himself like a guy with the goal ratio he has.
“And I do feel there is still more to come from Sam.”