How Connor Barron has emerged as a key Aberdeen star - and why fans should be excited

Aberdeen boss Jim Goodwin was quick to note that he “can't take too much credit" for Connor Barron’s progress at Pittodrie but the Irishman is giving him a platform to perform and is now reaping the rewards.

The 19-year-old spent the first half of the season impressing on loan at League Two leaders Kelty Hearts before signing a contract extension with the Dons in January.

When it was stated he would remain at his parent club there was disappointment in Fife but also the assumption that he’d likely be on the fringes of Stephen Glass’ first-team.

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With the likes of Lewis Ferguson, Scott Brown, Dylan McGeouch, as well as Funso Ojo, Ross McCrorie and new signing Dante Polvara there didn't appear to be much room at the inn, until there was.

Barron has been a tenacious presence in the midfield. (Photo by Craig Foy / SNS Group)

Aside from a couple of substitute appearances in the Scottish Cup, it wasn't until Glass was relieved of his duties when he was let off the leash in the midfield, starting with a 1-1 draw with St Johnstone when the team were led by interim boss Barry Robson.

The teenager was the only positive from the performance, displaying a range of qualities, technically and mentally, in a period of adversity.

“He has been a breath of fresh air since I came in," Goodwin said. “You talk about bravery and courage, the wee man has it in abundance.

“He demands the ball from the centre halves, in tight areas he wants to play out of trouble and that takes courage. That’s the type of character we need at this club if we are going to go and be successful.”

Connor Barron has emerged as a key player for Aberdeen. (Photo by Craig Foy / SNS Group)

It is easy to see why Goodwin likes him. Barron is tenacious and fearless without the ball, positive with it.

It said a whole lot about the youngster that the Dons boss revealed he told Brown, who left the club earlier this month, that he wasn’t guaranteed to start.

Barron has started every game under Goodwin and has deservedly been recognised with a call-up for the upcoming Scotland Under-21 double headers against Turkey and Kazakhstan.

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“He had a dip in form against Hearts where the whole team was poor on the night but you saw him back to his best against Rangers," he said. “For a young boy in the middle of the park at Ibrox in a tense atmosphere, he handled the occasion very well.

“He’s brave on the ball and for a small lad he wants to get stuck in as well. He has great attributes but is nowhere near where we think he can get to in terms of his development. It’s great for him to get that recognition in the under-21s with Calvin Ramsay.

“For us to have two guys coming through the academy in the 21s and Lewis in the senior team, it’s great recognition for the hard work of the boys here at Aberdeen.”

Goodwin added: “Connor is a very good player with great potential. He has so much to learn and improve on which he knows and he is not getting above his station at all.

“He is one of the nicest kids you could wish to meet. He is very down to earth and is a pleasure to work with.

“We’ve just got to nurture him and help him continue with his development.”

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