England coach Allan Russell impact detailed as Aberdeen return to goal trail in cup win over Livingston
Ross McCorie has detailed the impact of assistant manager Allan Russell after the 40-year-old’s arrival coincided with Aberdeen hitting the net on seven occasions against Livingston.
Russell was in the dugout for the first time alongside new manager Stephen Glass, whose recruitment of the current England strikers’ coach is considered something of a coup.
Okay, so five of these ‘goals’ were penalties in the subsequent shoot-out after a 2-2 draw, but, even in these spectator-less times, that requires a degree of know-how, confidence and nerve. McCrorie displayed all these qualities as he slotted home the decisive penalty to secure a home last eight clash against Dundee United.
While the midfielder revealed Aberdeen did not practice penalties last week, Russell was keen to start sharpening up the players’ technique in front of goal. It can’t be coincidence that Aberdeen scored twice for the first time since January. The next aim will be to try and score at least twice in 90 minutes. One of Aberdeen’s goals on Saturday was scored five minutes into extra-time.
“There is a couple of wee drills we have been doing, just pointers,” explained McCrorie. “I am not a striker myself, but he has been taking the strikers and doing their own thing. He is in the England set-up and is obviously a really good coach.
“You can see that every day in day out with Allan,” he added. “He brings real experience and I think he will be great for the team. We got two goals against Livingston and had good interchanges in the final third. You can see with the gaffer and Allan’s coaching we are creating chances.”
Russell even seemed to reinvigorate Florian Kamberi with the previously out of touch on-loan striker scoring Aberdeen’s second equaliser of the night after replacing Fraser Hornby shortly after half-time. It was the former Hibs striker’s first goal since joining the club in February. He also casually rolled in one of the penalties.
“Flo was brilliant as he came on and made a really good impact,” said McCrorie. “He made it stick for us up there. Hopefully he can take a bit of confidence from that and take it into the remaining games we have left. He was tremendous when he came on.”
Perhaps the finest demonstration of forward play did not come from Aberdeen, however. Livingston striker Jay Emmanuel-Thomas struck twice for the visitors, came close to scoring his hat-trick and rifled home his penalty in the shootout.
Livingston manager David Martindale afterwards revealed the striker, who joined in October on a short-term deal, would be moving on this summer. Aberdeen could certainly do worse although Emmanuel-Thomas himself has claimed he is not sure about his next step.
“There is always a possibility of moving on,” he said. “In terms of the season, we still have games to finish off playing. That is the main focus at the moment, to play as well as I can until the season is over. I will deal with what happens after that.
“I am 30 now. You always have to look and see what is potentially on the cards at this stage in my career. It is something I will look at but until then, I have the summer, family to go and see and other things to think about.”
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