Attacker Niall McGinn today called for his fellow creative players to take the goal pressure off leading scorer Sam Cosgrove.
Already on 20 goals this season, Cosgrove was absent from the 1-1 draw with Premiership bottom club Hearts as he served out the last match of a two-game suspension.
In Cosgrove’s absence the Dons struggled to make an impact and it took a superb converted free-kick from substitute McGinn to salvage a point in Edinburgh.
Now on five goals for the season, McGinn is the closest scorer to goal machine Cosgrove, who is on the radar of Middlesbrough, Stoke, Derby and Leeds United.
McGinn said: “Sam is our top scorer and is always going to be a miss regardless.
“He is the player that scores goals for us and, as attacking players, we want to try to help him as much as possible.
“Whether that is with assists or goals, it is down to the likes of myself and other players to come to the forefront when Sam is not there.”
McGinn, 32, was named as a substitute at Tynecastle as he is carrying a calf and hamstring strain. Though he passed a fitness test on the morning of the game, it was decided he would be most effective coming off the bench.
McGinn was introduced just before half time for Zak Vyner, who was forced off injured having suffered a dislocated shoulder.
Aberdeen face a sweat on Vyner’s fitness as the on-loan Bristol City defender suffered the same injury in a training ground collision last month that ruled him out for three weeks. Dons boss Derek McInnes admits he fears Vyner may require surgery, which would effectively rule him out for the season.
McGinn made a telling impact off the bench when curling in a 25-yard free kick to level after Hearts, on a five-game losing streak, went ahead with an equally impressive strike from Ryotaro Meshino.
McGinn said: “Hearts had been on a poor run and we wanted to go to Tynecastle and get the three points. Unfortunately we have not done that.
“In the first half we didn’t play great and wanted to come out after the break and silence the crowd by creating a few chances.
“We were very disappointed to concede the goal from a quick throw in, although it was a brilliant finish. I was delighted to score a nice free kick to get us back into the game.
“A few chances came along our way but it was just a bit too scrappy. We probably should have worked the ball better and got it into wider areas to get crosses into the box.
“From where we were at the start of the second half and Hearts then getting the goal, we will take a point, dust ourselves down and move on.”
Aberdeen will go into 2019 sitting fourth in the Premiership table, one point behind Motherwell in third.
The Reds will jet out to Dubai next week for a warm weather training camp and McGinn believes the overseas trip will be invaluable.
He is confident the Reds will return revitalised for two important games, as they host Dumbarton in the Scottish Cup in the first game back from the winter break. Just days later they travel to Motherwell in a midweek league clash.
He said: “We will enjoy our downtime over the break, spend time with our families or go on holiday.
“It is a nice time of year to go away and enjoy some downtime. The time will be used to rest and recover then we will all fly out to Dubai.
“Once we are out in Dubai we will need to work hard.
“The most important thing is to get focused and ready to go for the big games in the Scottish Cup and then Motherwell after that.
“We want to get a good run in the Scottish Cup and finish as high up the league as we possibly can.”