How 6 of Aberdeen’s summer recruits fared – Ying & Yang, bloated bulldozer, hell of a strike
The 5-0 victory was the third competitive game of the campaign. We are executing the Dons rookie rule in what is a new-look side.
The Dutch keeper hasn’t been a busy man over the 270 minutes. No real surprise given the part-time opposition. He produced some smart saves against Peterhead and Dumbarton. There was a great fingertip save in the warm-up before Stirling’s game. At Balmoor, he showed composure and a good range of passes, throwing a cross pass directly at the feet of Jayden Richardson.
There was, however, an uncomfortable moment in the win over Stirling. An early turn saw Roos stuck under a cross as he bounced around the box.
If you had to describe Jayden Richardson’s style, “a hot rod” would suffice. He is very fast and very strong. The Englishman is not a complex footballer and will play it safe. But when he gets the chance, he will. Played as a winger against Peterhead and was unlucky not to have an assist when found guilty of committing a foul.
Against Stirling, he used that strength and pace to beat down the right early on, avoiding the attentions of an opponent. He showed a real willingness to get in behind and to the side of the opposing defence, looking for balls over the top or playing one-twos in the final third.
Some Aberdeen fans displayed a ‘No more Celtic loans’ flag at Forthbank. It’s an understandable stance from the supporters, especially with Scales set to sit out the league opener against his parent club. However, there’s no doubt that the Irishman looks like a great signing. To say he’s come through all three games so far is an understatement.
He gives Aberdeen a shrewd passing option from deep, someone who can build play and is happy to take the ball from other defenders, the goalkeeper or as an option for the midfielder to bring it back. He was progressive against Peterhead and then stepped up a notch with some excellent passing against Stirling, including a pass to split the defense for Jonny Hayes to run in as he assisted Christian Ramirez.
With Scales there is also the reliable defensive side. He is aggressive and wins battles.
For the Ying of Scales, Stewart is the Yang. Aberdeen’s new captain is the leader from the back line with Jim Goodwin passing instructions regarding balls to the side of the Dons’ defense to the Englishman. He’s not as confident on the ball as Scales and lacks his passing range. Guilty of giving away the ball against Peterhead in the first half, he improved a lot against Stirling.
Where he will benefit Aberdeen is his personality, competitive edge and willingness to fight and compete. He faced big guys like Robert Thomson and Ola Adeyemo and gave them very few opportunities.
Aberdeen just seem more reliable at the back although Goodwin says they still need to work on their defensive form.
Stirling looked to be in for a promising counterattack in the second half of the League Cup clash when the Albania international showed a change of pace to intercept the ball. Now, in such a position as the last man in front of his own goal, he would normally see a pass returned to Kelle Roos. However, Ramadani, feeling the pressure from the Stirling striker, turned and played forward. This allowed Aberdeen to launch an attack from much higher than he would if a pass had been replayed. It was a really positive moment.
In fact, pretty much every time he’s been on the ball in his two appearances it’s been positive. He set up Matty Kennedy with a defensive pass for the second goal in the win over Dumbarton and delivered an almost identical ball in the build-up to Ross McCrorie’s goal against Stirling.
Ramadani was composed and physical, displayed a good conscience and has already started communicating with his teammates through his role as a midfield composer.
“A bit of everything,” is how Goodwin described Duk’s early days for the Dons. His 45 minutes on the pitch were entertaining and eventful. He showed his pace and strength early on to create pace and speed away from Stirling’s defense on the left. Later, on the other side, he showed a bit of skill in escaping the pressure before being hacked off as he advanced towards the box. Welcome to Scotland.
The Cape Verdean international has definitely suggested he would be a good addition to the squad and someone with a robust presence that will make life uncomfortable for defenders. He wasn’t quite on the same wavelength with his teammates as Christian Ramirez in the first half. Again, he’s had three training sessions in six weeks and is “nowhere near where he needs to be” according to Goodwin.
Duk’s new boss called it exciting and could have scored, hitting the woodwork in a frantic spell. Goodwin said: “He’s shown in training the quality he has in front of goal. He’s got a hell of a shot on him. It would have been nice if this one fell a bit better and ended up at the back of the net because you want your forwards to get up and running as soon as possible.