DAVID GOODWILLIE claims Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes’ caring side is helping to bring the best out of him.
The former Dundee United striker has found life difficult since leaving Tannadice in the summer of 2011.
He sealed a £2million move to Blackburn but failed to hit it off with Rovers and eventually returned to United on loan last year.
But his move back to Tayside also ended in disappointment as manager Jackie McNamara opted against signing the Scotland international permanently.
Goodwillie, though, has found a new lease of life after McInnes took a chance on him in the summer. He has scored just three goals in 17 outings for the Pittodrie side but is starting to show glimpses of the talent which first won his move to England.
And the 25-year-old said all that is down to boss McInnes and his number two Tony Docherty. Speaking ahead of today’s home clash with Hamilton, Goodwillie told the official Aberdeen website: “I know the manager from when I was a youngster at Dundee United and he was in the first team. We trained together quite a few times. He was a senior player and very well respected by everyone at Tannadice. He was a good player, a fantastic professional who always made time for the young boys. He was good with the young players back then and he is still very good with them today. He has not changed.
“His management is very good. He knows when you are unhappy and he will take you aside and speak with you. Footballers are no different to the general public, we all have to be managed in different ways. The gaffer is very good at that.
“Tony is a very good guy as well. You can speak to him about things, anything that is bothering you. They both know how to get the best out of me and I think that is showing out on the pitch at the moment. I am loving my time at Aberdeen. ”
Accies player/manager Alex Neil, meanwhile, admits the rigours of top-flight football have hit home at Hamilton in recent weeks. After coming up from the Championship through the play-off last season, the Lanarkshire club lost their opening match of the Premiership campaign at home to Inverness before going on a remarkable 11-game unbeaten run which helped them go top of the table. However, last week’s 2-0 William Hill Scottish Cup fourth-round defeat at Partick meant Accies have won only once in their last six matches, and in the Premiership they have dropped to fourth.
Neil conceded recent form has been “patchy”.
He said: “If you are looking at results our [recent] form hasn’t been particularly great. Against Partick we didn’t move the ball anywhere near quick enough and were disappointed in that performance.
“But I didn’t get carried away after the first ten games or so when we were doing really well. I knew we were always going to come to a sticky point. For promoted teams with so many young players it is difficult. Mentally and physically, it can drain them having to get themselves to the levels we have shown week-in, week-out. Seasoned professionals find it difficult, never mind young lads, so it has taken its toll a little bit.”