Sam Cosgrove is relishing the pressure that comes with being Aberdeen’s talisman.
The Dons striker has netted 19 times already this season and contributed 10 of their 26 goals in the Ladbrokes Premiership.
Both Aberdeen assistant manager Tony Docherty and Celtic boss Neil Lennon name-checked Cosgrove as they talked about Saturday’s game at Parkhead, with the striker seen as key to the visitors’ chances.
But it is a responsibility that sits well with the 23-year-old former Carlisle forward.
“There is maybe pressure on me to score but that is a pressure I relish and want to have,” he said on Aberdeen’s official website.
“Prior to the game against Hamilton I hadn’t scored in two games. It was not playing on my mind, but it was definitely there.
“I want to score in every game and be there for the team.
“Scoring goals gets you a lot of attention and scoring goals is nice but there is a lot of work that goes on behind me. Niall (McGinn) is on multiple assists; Ryan (Hedges) is the same. They are the boys who are creating the chances for me.
“The Hamilton goal, I have peeled off to the back post, but it needs a great ball in from Niall to find me.
“As the main striker you get a lot of pressure to score goals, but it is something I enjoy doing.”
The expectations on Cosgrove have soared following a slow start to his Pittodrie career.
The target man has scored 38 goals in 53 games over the past 12 months after netting only twice in his first 22 appearances.
And Cosgrove has been able to reflect on why there was such a contrast in fortunes.
“I get asked this question a lot and I have now had more time to think about it,” he said.
“There are two main aspects. There is the confidence side of it. I have come up here and as a striker you thrive off confidence. If you are scoring then it becomes more natural, putting the chances away.
“And experience as well. Aberdeen is probably the first club I have been at where I have had a good run of games. I have played the majority of the games over the past 12 months and that has been invaluable to me.
“It is maybe a cliche – everyone says that you need as much time on the pitch as you can to develop and that is definitely the case for me.
“I just seem to be learning my game more and more, every game I play, and learn other people’s games. I am feeding off that.
“I would say that experience is the main thing that has contributed towards it.”
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