Why Aberdeen are going to excite as Bojan Miovski makes impact - but new identity will be challenged by Celtic
Emphatic. The only way to sum up Bojan Miovski's debut goal from the penalty spot and Aberdeen's performance in the Premier Sports Cup Group Stages with a new identity being shaped in the Granite City.
The Dons rounded off their first taste of League Cup football at this stage of the competition with a relatively comfortable 3-0 home win over Raith Rovers to secure an away tie with Annan Athletic in the last-16 of the Premier Sports Cup. They did so as the only Premiership side to have won all four of their games, while not conceding a goal in the process.
This was, however, Aberdeen's toughest fixture and it showed.
Raith, especially in the first half, gave a very good account of themselves and were unlucky to not equalise when Jamie Gullan poked a Liam Dick cross towards the far corner. Dylan Easton’s introduction after the interval made you ponder how he would have impacted proceedings had he started the match.
"There were elements of the first half I wasn't pleased with and I spoke to the guys at half-time to make them aware that if we are that sloppy with possession and the cheap turnovers we gave, if we do that next Sunday at Parkhead then we will find ourselves 3-0 down at half-time and completely out of the game," he said.
Yet, they came through unscathed with three positive goals.
Miovski slammed home an early penalty he won as he made his Dons bow. Ross McCrorie rounded off an excellent League Cup campaign with a driving run and finish via the bar and Jonny Hayes also registered a deserved goal, running onto Vicente Besuijen’s through pass.
The early signs are that Aberdeen are going to be an exciting team to watch this campaign – as are Raith Rovers who play with plenty of composure and imagination but are lacking balance. The defence plays higher up the pitch, players are committed forward, midfielders and full-backs are instructed to get beyond the striker.
All part of a new-look, more proactive and expansive side being formed by Goodwin at Pittodrie, at odds to what was served up last season and one which will be challenged when they travel to Celtic Park. Will they be as brave with their positioning in and out of possession?
Miovski, taking over the No.9 from Christian Ramirez, showed a touch and intelligence to fulfil that role effectively and a willingness to stretch the game. Importantly he was well supported and perhaps the best indication of a player adapting and settling in was the third goal when he left the ball for Hayes having been informed he was offside. The Irishman made reference to it in the celebrations, touching his ear as he gave the North Macedonian international a high five.
“We will always get opportunities,” Goodwin said. “I don't care who we are playing, what the level of opposition is, I believe we have got players in the attacking end that can hurt most teams and I believe we will score every game but we have to keep clean sheets.”
That will be tested at Celtic.
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