Fighting for third in the Premiership is not enough for Lewis Ferguson who has vowed to pile pressure on Celtic and Rangers.
The popular perception is Aberdeen and Hibs will fight it out to finish best of the rest behind the Glasgow two, but Ferguson wants to upset the status quo for as long as possible.
Scotland Under-21 cap Ferguson is a realist and accepts the superior financial clout of Celtic and Rangers offers a clear advantage.
Yet he revealed the squad discussed before the start of the season the need to push to be “in and around” the two teams.
Ferguson’s injury-time winner to dump St Mirren 2-1 made it six wins from eight games in the Premiership to keep up the heat.
He said: “We always want to be as high in the table as possible and get as close to them as possible.
“It’s always difficult as they have massive squads and millions of pounds to spend. It’s difficult to compete against that, but I think we do. We spoke at the start of the season about wanting to try to put pressure on them and not just be fighting for that third spot.”
On-loan Bristol City attacker Marley Watkins has also claimed Aberdeen should target splitting the Glasgow two this season.
With six goals so far, Ferguson has been fundamental to the push towards the top of the table.
His injury-time goal followed his double in the 3-0 defeat of Ross County the previous weekend.
He said: “I’ve scored a few better ones, but it is still up there. A last-minute winner is always good.
“I don’t think we were anywhere near our best. We started the game well, but for some reason got sloppy and St Mirren came into the game.
“When it is the last minute and you haven’t played well, you’ll take those sort of ones all day long.
“We didn’t make it comfortable for ourselves, but it is the same three points as last week.”
Ferguson has a habit of scoring important goals. He netted a sublime overhead kick against Premier League Burnley in the Europa League in only his second game for the Dons. He also netted the winner in the 1-0 League Cup semi-final defeat of Rangers at Hamdpen in October 2018.
Ferguson insists the lateness of the goal is indicative of the fighting spirit in the squad, adding: “Character can win you games as well as ability so it is good we have both. Last week we were on top at Ross County and it won us the game. Against St Mirren our character won us the game.”
Midfielder Ferguson will today meet up with the Scotland U21 squad for Uefa Euro U21 qualifiers against Czech Republic and San Marino.
The young Scots host Czech Republic on Friday before facing San Marino away next Tuesday.
Ferguson and attacker Marley Watkins both netted with strikes from outside the penalty area.
Dons boss Derek McInnes met his players recently to discuss the need for shots on target.
Ferguson said: “Although we were winning games, we were not getting enough shots at goal.
“We looked at stats and teams who were not winning games were having more shots on goal than us. We were winning and keeping clean sheets, but maybe only winning by one goal so we’ve addressed that.
“We did that last week at Ross County and on Friday as well.
“Against Ross County we played some good stuff, scored three goals and took the three points last week.
“On Friday St Mirren worked hard and got their goal, but it was a good three points for us and counts the same towards the end of the season.”
Ferguson has already tripled his goal tally for last season.
Four have been penalties as he is on spot-kick duty in the absence of regular taker Sam Cosgrove due to injury.
Cosgrove has missed the start of the season due to a knee injury, but is scheduled to return to action later this month.
A discussion has yet to be held on who then takes penalties.
Ferguson said: “Last season I didn’t score as much as I would have liked, so I want to put that right and I’m on penalties right now which obviously helps.
“We haven’t spoken about it, but Sam was the penalty taker when we were both on the pitch.
“I’m quite happy to take them until such time as I miss.”