Aberdeen striker Sam Cosgrove will be gutted to suffer a knee injury so soon after rejecting a multi-million-pound move to Guingamp in France.
Unfortunately it looks like the striker could be out for four months with the injury sustained in the 1-1 friendly draw with Hibernian.
It is a blow to Aberdeen and a blow to the prolific scorer who netted 23 times last season.
My advice to Cosgrove is not to rush his comeback and to make sure he is right when he does return.
He must take his time, make sure his knee is fine and he is match fit – then get back to scoring goals.
Cosgrove can still get a big money move, which would benefit both Aberdeen and himself.
Clubs were interested in signing him this summer and there will still be clubs interested when he returns to full fitness and the team.
Cosgrove’s injury offers an opportunity for Bruce Anderson to step up and make his mark.
Anderson is definitely good and fast enough to lead the line against Rangers and he also scores goals.
He has been scoring in the pre-season friendlies, so will be really fired up for the challenge of facing Rangers.
Anderson will be confident in his own ability, so I would definitely consider starting him tomorrow.
He netted against Rangers on his debut in the opening game of the 2018-19 season. Anderson can find the net against Steven Gerrard’s side yet again tomorrow.
It is an unfortunate reality in football that opportunities can arise through a team-mate’s misfortune.
My big break came as a 16-year-old at Morton when we were playing Partick Thistle in the Summer Cup.
Myself and another three ground-staff boys travelled on the train from Greenock to Glasgow.
There weren’t any substitutes then, so I wasn’t even in the squad.
When we went to the ground Partick weren’t even going to let us in as we were so young, even though I had a Morton tie on and told them we were all players.
Thankfully Hal Stewart then came out and asked if I had anything to eat recently.
Although I had just had a big plate of mince and tatties and a pint of milk after arriving at the train station, I said: “No.”
“Good,” he said. “You’re playing.”
I didn’t even have any boots and ended up having to borrow a pair from Willie Ewing. I scored the only goal of the game and it was through Joe Mason being injured.
That was my big chance and I made the most of it. Anderson could get a similar chance tomorrow and he has the talent to grab it.
Lifeblood missing for return of game
With no supporters at Pittodrie tomorrow Aberdeen will have to generate their own edge against Rangers.
It is unfortunate there will be no fans at the Premiership opener as there will be no atmosphere.
However, that could ultimately work in Aberdeen’s favour if they go into the game totally fired up.
Scottish football will be entering completely new and alien territory tomorrow.
This has never happened before and a game you would expect to be sold out will be empty.
There has been an indicator of what to expect with the behind-closed-door games in the major European leagues such as England, Spain, Germany and Italy, which have been broadcast on television. One thing that really hit home in those matches was just how important supporters at games really are.
Broadcasters can dub sound effects in a bid to recreate supporter reaction, but it just isn’t the same. Football needs the raw passion and energy of supporters pitch side, driving their team on.
For the next few months at least, empty stadiums are something players, and fans watching streams or coverage on Sky, will have to deal with.
There are hopes fans can start to be phased back from September. Hopefully that happens because supporters are the lifeblood of the game.
Well-earned spot in League One for Cove
The independent three-man arbitration panel’s recent decision to uphold Hearts and Partick Thistle’s relegation was the right call.
Their bid to overturn the inevitable threatened Cove Rangers’ place in League One.
I am delighted Paul Hartley’s Cove will now be taking their rightful place for the new campaign.
They are an ambitious club who earned their promotion after a superb debut season in the SPFL.