Dons boss Derek McInnes today insisted goal machine Sam Cosgrove has filled the void left by Adam Rooney.
Prolific scorer Cosgrove netted a double in the 4-1 Scottish Cup defeat of Queen of the South to take his season’s tally to 16.
The 22-year-old has netted 14 goals in 13 games including a brace in the 4-2 loss to Rangers on Wednesday.
McInnes reckons Cosgrove can fill the boots of Rooney who was sold to English fifth-tier side Salford City last summer.
Rooney was the first Don to net 20-plus goals in three straight seasons since the club’s all-time leading scorer Joe Harper in the late 1970s.
Rooney hasn’t netted for Salford since December 1, while Cosgrove is one of Scotland’s in-form scorers.
Aberdeen recently tied up Cosgrove on an extended contract until summer 2023. McInnes said: “We had a striker here for many years in Adam Rooney who would always get to that 20-goal plus mark.
“He was scoring penalties. However, penalties have still to be converted and Sam has looked very comfortable, as Rooney did, in these instances.
“What Sam is doing is testament to a lot of his hard work.
“He is listening, improving and is looking like a proper centre forward.
“Sam is getting his goals now to match his performances.
“For a couple of months at the start of the season we looked as if we weren’t carrying enough threat or potency.
“We had enough effort and control of games but were not scoring enough goals.”
Cosgrove was signed from Carlisle United for £20,000 last January and had to wait until October to net his first competitive goals. He has made up for lost time.
McInnes joked had he found his scoring range earlier the Reds would be top of the table.
He said: “I always kid Sam on that if he had not waited until November, December to start scoring we might have been top of the league now.
“Sam’s improvement and his stats are great for his confidence.”
Aberdeen were being held 0-0 at half-time until the introduction of Niall McGinn at the break as a substitute. McGinn, on for Stevie May, scored the opener and pitched in with two assists.
McInnes insists he always expected a tough tie from Queen of the South who knocked out Premiership Dundee 3-0 in the previous round. He said: “It wasn’t straightforward and credit to Queen of the South.
“Gary (Naismith, manager) has got them going well. They came up here with loads of belief and were very organised.
“At half-time I felt it was important we had calm heads but also recognised we had work to do.
“We needed to bring more speed and more drive to the whole performance.
“We got that in the second half with what I thought was almost a perfect second-half performance. We got four goals and loads of control to the game.
“Even the response to losing the equaliser from that strike was good as well.
“I think people saw this tie, our supporters included, that we would just wipe the floor with Queen of the South.
“What you see with them is a good level of player and a well-organised team.
“They beat a Premiership team (Dundee 3-0) and we had to dig deep for it.”
Aberdeen will today send right-back Shaleum Logan for a scan as he came off in the second half with an ankle injury.
He was replaced by centre-back Mikey Devlin who returned to action for the first time since mid-November having been sidelined with a foot tendon injury.
McInnes said: “It was great to get Devlin back on the pitch, albeit at the expense of Shay who picked up an ankle knock.
“It wasn’t a kick or a twist, we will just scan it and see how he is.
“There is a wee bit of concern there but hopefully it is nothing too sinister.
“Hopefully Mikey can get a good week’s work now and step it up.”