Lee Miller knows what it’s like arriving at Aberdeen and struggling initially to hit the net.
Sam Cosgrove went through a dry spell when he first joined the Dons – but Miller says the English striker has proven himself as a goalscorer.
And the former Reds hitman says it’s not just his goals that make Cosgrove such a vital part of Derek McInnes’ team.
Having signed for Aberdeen in January 2018, it was October of that year before Cosgrove broke his scoring duck.
In 2018-19, he bagged 21 strikes in all and had managed 23 before last season was cut short because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Miller is impressed by Cosgrove’s goal return, but insists even when he doesn’t score he contributes plenty to Aberdeen’s cause.
He said: “With strikers people talk about goal returns, but Sam brings so much to Aberdeen’s team because he’s the focal point of the attack and holds it up well and links the play.
“He brings so much more than goals, but in the last couple of seasons he’s added goals as well.
“He got criticised for not scoring, but he’s shown now that he is a goalscorer and he brings so much beside that.
“I’m sure everyone at Aberdeen will be delighted with his contribution and he’s taken on the mantle from Adam Rooney, who had an incredible record.
“Adam would often say a lot of his goals were tap-ins, but that’s not a fluke or luck in anyway.
“You have to be in the right position to get those goals and those players know how to get into the right place at the right time and get those goals and Adam was one of those.
“I had a couple of spells like that in my career, where you were confident and knew you’d get in the right place at the right time and score goals.
“Sam Cosgrove will have feeling that and credit should go to Derek McInnes and Tony Docherty for giving him a chance, sticking with him and building a team around him that creates plenty of chances for him.”
Miller knows how difficult Cosgrove would have found it early on in his Aberdeen career when he wasn’t scoring.
The Falkirk co-manager joined the Dons from Dundee United in August 2006 and took two months to get off the mark and only managed four strikes in his first spell at Pittodrie,
However, in the following two he finished as Aberdeen’s top scorer as they recorded consecutive fourth place finishes under Jimmy Calderwood.
He added: “When I joined Aberdeen I think it took quite a while for me to score my first goal.
“But Jimmy Calderwood always said to me ‘don’t worry about it, as long as you’re contributing the goals will come.’ And thankfully they did.
“I was never as selfish as I should have been in front of goal. If somebody was in a better position than me I’d pass it rather than shoot and try to score myself.
“Looking back maybe that’s a criticism that I wasn’t selfish enough to score 20 goals a season.
“But as long as I was contributing and bringing other players into play then I was contributing.
“Jimmy said that and he was happy with how I performed and the goals came alongside that.”
Besides scoring Miller – who was usually deployed as a target man in attack by Aberdeen – felt it was important to create goals for others during his three-and-a-half years with the Dons.
The 37-year-old said: “If I could score as many goals as possible that’s great, but there was more to my game than just scoring goals.
“Of course as a striker you want to score, but if I’d set goals up and held the ball up well then that was good.
“I think I got quite a lot of assists even from flick-ons because as a team we knew how to play as a team and we had Steve Lovell, Darren Mackie, Jamie Smith and Chris Maguire who would run in behind me and gamble because they knew most of the time I would win the flick on.
“That caused teams problems and I really enjoyed being part of that and Jimmy Calderwood always managed to get the best out of me.”