Sam Cosgrove: Aberdeen striker 'improving brilliantly' says Derek McInnes
Aberdeen boss Derek McInnes was hardly buying a goal-machine when he took a punt on Sam Cosgrove on the final day of last year's January transfer window.
The 6ft 3in striker took 30 games to get off the mark in senior football, on loan at Barrow and North Ferriby United in England's fifth tier, and Carlisle in League Two.
His winner against Crewe on 13 January last year was still his only senior goal when he arrived at Pittodrie 12 months ago.
But Wednesday's brace in Aberdeen's 3-0 win at Hamilton Academical took the 22-year-old's tally to nine in his last eight games.
His overall count stands at 11. Only Rangers' Alfredo Morelos, with 12, has scored more in the Scottish Premiership this season.
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Cosgrove's first, a scuffed finish after his initial header was blocked, was one strikers are expected to score.
His second, powering past Ziggy Gordon's flimsy challenge on the left touchline and zoning in on goal before a confident side-footed finish into the far corner, gave a glimpse of a still developing talent.
"I'd like to see him open his legs up a bit more in terms of showing his pace and power - he has got that," McInnes said.
"He is very important to us in terms of giving us a bit of size and presence in the box and also helping get us up the pitch.
"He is a striker who thrives on service, but he is also capable of doing a bit more himself in facing up defenders, as we saw with his second goal."
'He's always been important'
Cosgrove's Aberdeen career got off to an inauspicious start when he was sent off for a wild lunge at Scott Brown just eight minutes after coming on for his debut against Celtic.
He featured five more times at the end of last season - without scoring - and played 10 more games this term before breaking his duck with a double against St Mirren on 6 October.
Five more scoreless matches followed, the last ending in a first-half red card - for two bookings - against Rangers at Ibrox on 5 December.
Remarkably, that was the cue for a run that has seen him score nine goals in eight games since, including doubles against Dundee, Hearts and Hamilton.
"Considering where he's come from he's improving brilliantly and hopefully that continues; his game is in a good place," McInnes added.
"He has always has been an important contributor but scoring goals is clearly important to all strikers and you can see that in his performance."
'It's amazing what goals can do' - Sportscene analysis
Former Scotland midfielder Michael Stewart
How may times did we say that if Aberdeen got somebody at the top end of the park, all the other components are in place if they could find that final piece of the jigsaw. Little did we know they actually had it at the club in Sam Cosgrove. Fair play to him, he has made a huge difference.
Former Scotland striker Steven Thompson
If you look at his second goal, three months ago he would have passed it because he wasn't confident. He looked like a player that wasn't confident. But it is amazing what goals can do for a player.