DAVID Goodwillie insists he didn’t need much convincing to link up at Aberdeen with two people who have already had a positive impact on his career.
The striker played alongside Pittodrie manager Derek McInnes when he first broke into Dundee United’s top team, while the Dons assistant manager Tony Docherty was an influential coach at Tannadice.
McInnes beat the likes of St Johnstone and Kilmarnock to Goodwillie’s signature after losing out to Rangers on his attempts to add Kris Boyd to his strikeforce. The 25-year-old is looking to revive his career after failing to live up to expectations following a £2 million move to Blackburn in August 2011.
Goodwillie said: “The manager didn’t need to press me very hard because I know the history of Aberdeen and how big a club this is so I jumped at the chance.
“Tony was my reserve coach when I was growing up at Dundee United and he helped me progress a lot. Derek was the captain at Tannadice when I was 17 and I always had a lot of respect for him as he was always nice to the young boys coming through the ranks.
“It’s a one-year deal and we’ll see how it goes. As long as I get to play as many games as I can and score as many goals for Aberdeen as I can. We’ll soon find out if I’ve come back a better player from my time down south but I’ve learnt a lot and there have been highs and lows. I’ve got a bit of catching up to do in terms of fitness in the next few days but I’ll work hard to catch up with the rest of the boys. I know the first league game is against United and I don’t know how their fans will react to this.
“Hopefully they will realise I did it for my own career and I still have a lot of love for the club that helped me as a young boy. That was a good chapter in my life but obviously I have to do my best for Aberdeen now.
McInnes feels a rejuvenated Aberdeen squad is the right environment for his former Dundee United team-mate.
McInnes said: “When I played with him when he was younger, I always felt he was destined to have a top career. It wasn’t so long ago that he had a big-money move and a lot was expected of him. For whatever reason, it’s not quite happened for him.
“He’s coming into a team that’s going the right way and is full of good players. I think he’ll thrive playing with the players we have at the club.”
Goodwillie does not come without off-field baggage having twice been convicted of assault and once charged with rape in 2011 before the case was dropped. On the park, Goodwillie has struggled to live up to his early promise. He scored only five goals in 34 appearances at Ewood Park, the last of which was on the final day of the 2012-13 season. Goodwillie, who also had a loan spell with Crystal Palace, hit six goals on loan at Tannadice last season, but latterly struggled for a regular starting spot, and then struck three times with Blackpool. He had one year remaining on his Rovers contract, but agreed to terminate it last month and was recently training with St Johnstone.
But McInnes is determined to give Goodwillie every chance to return to the form that earned him three Scotland caps.
“Every signing could be seen as a gamble,” McInnes said. “I get the feeling that if he invests in us the way we are going to invest in him, we’ll give him every opportunity to be the player he can be.”