Aberdeen striker Sam Cosgrove’s exquisite opener against Motherwell was another demonstration of the ability he says has “proved a lot of people wrong”.
The 22-year-old Englishman, who was signed two Januarys ago for £25,000 from Carlisle, expertly lofted the ball over Steelmen stopper Mark Gillespie into the far corner in a game where the Reds ran out 3-0 winners.
Victory offset an off-colour Premiership run for Derek McInnes’ side and everyone is talking about hitman Cosgrove ahead of tomorrow’s visit of champions Celtic to Pittodrie.
Opening up on his 15th-minute stunner at Fir Park, the attacker said: “I’ve been getting quite a lot of praise about it.
“I’ve watched it back quite a few times now.
“It was a tidy finish, one of those instinctive ones where I saw the keeper running out towards me.
“In a split-second I thought the dink was the right thing to do.
“It probably is more sub- conscious. Sometimes when you find yourself running in on the goal with so much time you can almost overthink it and do too much.
“It happened so quickly, but once I saw it go past him I knew it was heading for that bottom corner and I was already away celebrating before it hit the back of the net.
“I’ve actually only tried it once in training.
“It’s usually something I don’t dare to do – I’m more powerful and will hit it across goal with as much power as I can in the corner.
“But I’d practised it last week in training. I’d been slipped through, but I think it might have been with my left foot, though.
“I’d maybe taken some confidence from that.”
Cosgrove is on 15 goals in 16 games this term going into tomorrow, after 21 strikes last season, and will have his eye on the 30-mark before May.
Those who thought the six foot five Burnley native a lumbering one-dimensional target man have been proven wrong, as have those who dismissed seven goals in five games last December as good fortune.
Cosgrove, who is thankful to manager McInnes for seeing – even after he was sent off five minutes into his debut against the Hoops in February 2018 – he could replace former Dons centre-forward Adam Rooney’s goal contribution.
He said: “I know it’s slightly clichéd, but I don’t look back too much and tend to look forward most of the time.
“But every once in a while I do sit down and a little throwback video might come of me from a couple of seasons ago.
“I’m proud of what I’ve achieved so far and where I’ve come from.
“I had a tough start in football, got a couple of chances taken on me and I’m very grateful to the manager for sticking with me and giving me those chances to prove myself.
“But I think I’ve proved a lot of people wrong. I didn’t have an ideal start and a lot of people wrote me off very early doors, which was tough to take.
“As a footballer, I think you’ve got to have some resilience and self-confidence in there. I think I’ve shown that. I’m reaping the rewards for it now.”
Victory against in-form Motherwell has left Aberdeen one point off of the third-placed Steelmen. It was a win Cosgrove admits was “needed”, with injuries and suspensions having hampered the Reds in recent matches – including a 5-0 loss at Rangers and League Cup exit at Tynecastle.
Looking to tomorrow, he says the aim is “to build” on Fir Park.
With Celtic having come through a tough Parkhead Europa League test against Lazio on Thursday, he added: “I think it’s a good time for us to play Celtic, coming off the back of a big result last weekend.
“Saying that, we’ve found a Celtic team in a bit of form at the moment.”
Cosgrove knows he’ll have to win the battle against Kristoffer Ajer and Christopher Jullien if he’s to play his part.
He said: “It’ll be tough – I’m expecting to come up against Ajer and Jullien, who are big, top-quality centre-halves. I personally think Ajer is the best centre-half in the league – after Scott McKenna, obviously.
“I’ve had some good battles against him and he’s another boy who doesn’t get the footballing credit he deserves.
“He’s a big guy like me, physical, but he also steps in really well and can pick a pass. He can go forward, too.
“I’m relishing the challenge because these are the games (you want to be in) and the players you want to play against.”