Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes likened Sam Cosgrove to Duncan Ferguson after the striker’s two goals earned his side victory at home to Hearts.
Cosgrove made it six goals in his last four games as a second-minute header and a second-half penalty sealed a 2-0 win which took the Dons up to second place in the Ladbrokes Premiership ahead of the Boxing Day clash with leaders Celtic.
Before this purple patch Cosgrove had only scored in one league game this season, but McInnes was full of praise for the former Carlisle man.
McInnes said: “His first goal reminds (me) of Duncan Ferguson the way he generated the header, but his general play has been pretty good of late anyway and I always feel as though he’s contributing.
“People look at the goals, but he’s a young boy. He’s just turned 22, but in football years he’s way younger than that.
“He’s learning the game at a club that’s demanding, but he’s learning quickly and doing his job well. It was the performance of a very confident player.”
McInnes had no doubt “the better team won”.
“The players came out the traps with clear intent to get after Hearts and we got the goal our play deserved,” he added.
“I was pleased with what the players gave us, though I have to say Joe Lewis made a very important save after a clever Hearts free-kick.
“I was a bit concerned about the physicality in the second half, I don’t feel we were getting close enough to them, but we were still keeping them at arm’s length. The penalty knocked the stuffing out of Hearts and we were comfortable after that.”
Hearts had Demetri Mitchell sent off for a second yellow card late on for bringing down Dean Campbell and boss Craig Levein was left fuming at the on-loan Manchester United man’s “sheer stupidity”.
He said: “It’s stupid. I have no complaints whatsoever. He knows he’s on a yellow card and we weren’t in a situation where he needed to make the challenge.
“He’ll miss the Hamilton game and he might not get back in. It’s sheer stupidity.”
Levein was, though, pleased with his side’s response from their 5-0 thrashing by Livingston.
“I was really happy with the response of the players after last week,” he said. “This is always a difficult place to come, especially with Aberdeen having hit a patch of form of late.
“We made things twice as hard for ourselves by conceding the goal so early which is never helpful, but after that we did quite well.
“I thought the game was pretty even. We had spells where we were on top and Aberdeen had the same without either side creating many clear-cut chances.
“My biggest gripe, once again, was that I thought there were three penalty decisions to be made and the softest of the lot was the one that was given.
“Steven Naismith was pulled down right in front of the referee who claimed he didn’t see it and then Peter Haring had a free header but was barged in the back and neither of those were given.”