How Aberdeen manager Jim Goodwin 'played with fire' against Hearts - and gets the perfect response
The Pittodrie manager saw his team bounce back to earn three points against struggling Hearts with late goals from Luis ‘Duk’ Lopes and Vicente Besuijen. Goodwin opted to face Hearts with a new three-at-the-back defensive system and he was vindicated when his side secured the win with a strong second-half performance. Aberdeen have jumped to fourth place prior to tough away games in the league against Motherwell and Rangers. They also host Partick Thistle in a Premier Sports Cup quarter-final on Wednesday.
“It was the perfect response to a very disappointing and embarrassing result for us last weekend,” said Goodwin, with reference to the 4-0 defeat at Tannadice. “It shows the character within the group. It’s not always easy to play in front of your own fans after such a difficult result. But the players rose to the occasion. We owed the fans after what happened against Dundee United. Hopefully they’ll go away feeling happier after this.”
Goodwin accepted he was playing with fire by deciding to move to a three-man defence. “As a manager, you leave yourself wide open to criticism if you make drastic changes like that and it doesn’t come off,” he said. “But we’ve been guilty of conceding goals. Our goals-for column is brilliant. But our goals-against column has been poor. So I’m delighted with the clean sheet. We went with a back three but we were still very attacking and had an attacking mindset. That’s what we want to be recognised for.”
Goodwin said he could not afford to feel too much sympathy for Robbie Neilson, who saw two more players depart injured during the Pittodrie defeat. Hearts now have as many 11 first-team players on the sidelines because of injury and suspension. “I do feel for Robbie but not too much,” he said. “At the end of the day we are all trying to compete against each other and we all want the three points. I am just delighted my boys found a way to win the game today.”