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Sam Cosgrove 10/10

September 9, 2019 10:18 pm Author: Red Matchday Team
Sam Cosgrove 10/10


Sam Cosgrove is the first Aberdeen FC player to score 10 goals by the end of August.

Since netting in the opening game of the campaign against RoPS Rovaniemi, the Englishman went on and scored in his first five competitive matches, which included a hat-trick against FC Chikhura Sachkhere. His penalty against Ross County last time out made it ten goals in ten games, and his Aberdeen total is now standing at 31 goals in 60 appearances.


The Red Matchday team look back at the other players who have started previous campaigns with a bang.


The best prior to this season was eight goals.

This was first achieved by Norman Davidson in season 1957/1958 and repeated by Gordon Strachan in 1982/1983 and also more recently by Duncan Shearer in 1992/1993.

Davidson’s feat in 1957/58 was all the more remarkable considering the Dons were in transition at the time.

However it was in the Dons League Cup section that also included Queen of the South, Motherwell and Falkirk that Davidson excelled. His eight goal haul came in each of the Dons opening five League Cup matches by which time Aberdeen had qualified as group winners. Ironically in the final group game at home to Motherwell the Dons scored five but Davidson was not among the scorers. Scotland international Graham Leggat was not far behind with seven goals as the Dons scored an impressive 22 goals in their six qualifying ties.

In Season 1982/83 when Aberdeen enjoyed success at home and in Europe the authorities helped Aberdeen with an early start due the Dons being drawn against Sion in a ECWC Preliminary round. That meant Aberdeen beginning their League Cup campaign at Morton several days before the season was to open. Gordon Strachan scored from the spot that evening and the highlight was his four goal salvo against former club Dundee at Dens in the Dons 5-1 victory. Once again on the back of those goals the Dons won their League Cup group with relative ease.



It was a busy summer at Pittodrie in 1992/93. New manager Willie Miller had settled into the managers’ chair and identified the need to strengthen his side. Miller pulled off a major transfer when he took Duncan Shearer to Pittodrie. Shearer had spent his entire career in England and Aberdeen shelled out £500,000 to take the former Dons trialist north.

The new striker introduced himself in the best way possible to the Red Army by scoring twice in the opening league game against Hibernian.



He would also score a hat-trick against Falkirk in the League Cup that month.

With Shearer partnered with fellow new signing Mixu Paatelainen and backed up by the emerging talents of Eoin Jess and Scott Booth, the Dons arguably had the best firepower in the country. That was to prove the case as they went on to score a record amount of goals with Shearer (28), Paatelainen (22), Booth (19) and Jess (16) – the goals were free flowing at Pittodrie. Duncan Shearer scored consecutive hat-tricks and he went on to equal Frank McDougall’s Premier League scoring record.

Although the Dons would end the season without any silverware, finishing runners-up to Rangers in all three domestic competitions, there were still many memorable moments to recall.


Matt Armstrong become the first to score seven goals by the end of August in season 1933/34.

Armstrong was the Dons record scorer before being overtaken by Joe Harper. The Armstrong feat was notable as there was no League Cup in existence back then. The league campaign began on the 12th August 1933 and Armstrong went nap by scoring five of the Dons goals in an 8-0 rout of Ayr United. Further goals at Airdrie and at home to Partick Thistle took Armstrong’s total to seven from four matches. Aberdeen went on to score 90 goals from their 38 league matches that season and it was Armstrong’s front line partner Willie Mills who was top scorer with 28 goals.

No AFC goals list would not be complete without mentioning ‘The King’

In season 1972/73 the Dons record scorer Joe Harper led the way from the outset as his new partnership with Drew Jarvie has an instant impact.

The previous season Joey had won a bronze adidas boot for being one of Europe’s top strikers – in season 1971/72 he netted a remarkable 52 goals in all matches whilst Drew had also been in fine scoring form for Airdrie, so much so he had already earned Scotland caps by the time he arrived at Pittodrie.

In a League Cup group that contained Hibernian, Queens Park and Queen Of the South (pictured) it was Harper who scored his seven goals from six group matches.



His double against eventual winners Hibernian included a sensational strike from just inside the Hibs half out on the touchline. Aberdeen hammered Hibernian 4-1 but with two sides qualifying back then both sides went through to the knockout stages.

Aberdeen went down 3-2 to Celtic at Hampden in a Hampden semi-final and Joe Harper, who scored 15 goals in the competition that season, was sold to Everton shortly after. Hibs went on to win the cup by beating Celtic 2-1 in the final.

Incredibly Harper scored three hat tricks that season, scoring 27 goals before being sold to Everton in December 1972, so his goal haul was achieved in the opening four months of the campaign.


Joe Harper

Joe last week spoke to RedTV for a special feature that will be aired shortly on the channel to mark his induction into the SFA Hall of Fame. The Dons legend looks back at his phenomenal Pittodrie career and also had some words of praise for the Dons current top striker.

“Sam is a very good player, especially with the way modern football is played nowadays. The game generally is more defensive and very often strikers are playing upfront on their own. As a striker I am not sure I could ever have done that.

“Sam is a really nice lad and I am really pleased how well he is doing at Aberdeen.

“He has only got 180 odd goals to go to break my record!!



“The greatest thing in my life was scoring goals and seeing the way the fans reacted.

“I give so much credit to the Aberdeen fans for sticking by me even when I was not playing well and giving me so much extra energy in games by singing my name. But I also could not have done what I did without my teammates.

“I always played alongside good wingers – such as Arthur Graham, Derek McKay, Jim Forrest; Whoever was playing on the left wing, I would say to them, when you get the ball, just shimmy – go one way and go the other way and then put the ball in. Don’t look for me, or play it to me. I don’t want the ball when I have a big centre half standing behind me! You just put it into the box and I will find the ball.

“And I did.

“And they did that. And because they did that I knew when to make my run. I knew where the ball would go by the angle they were at – ie front post, back post or the middle of the penalty box. Very often it worked out.

“And then there was Drew Jarvie.

“Drew is the best striker I have ever played with. Drew and I had this telepathic thing, we knew where each other was. You could just play a ball without looking and you knew he would be there and he was the same with me.

“An example of this was the equaliser in the ’76 League Cup final. When the cross came over I knew I could not score but if I put the ball back in I knew Drew would be there.



“There are players who would make a run into the box nine times, and because they did not get the ball, they would not make the run a tenth time. Drew kept making those runs and that is why he scored so many goals. Running into the box was a natural thing for him to do and he scored some great goals.

“When he arrived in 1972 Drew and I had a little bet to see who would score the most goals that season. So after I left to go to Everton he went on and scored 28, beating me by one! I was delighted and very pleased for him and had to take him out for a meal.”


The scoring records that Joe broke at the Pittodrie in the 1970s mostly all belonged to Matt Armstrong.


Matt Armstrong


The Aberdeen team of the mid 1930s was arguably our greatest side never to have won a trophy.

The Dons side of that era were famous for their stylish brand of football with the emphasis very much on the finer arts of the game. The ‘Black & Gold’ era as it became known by was a period that was missing a major trophy but left lasting memories of a great football side.

In those days the emphasis was more on each game which was taken on its’ own merits as opposed to the win-at all-costs approach that prevails in the modern game.

The irony of how that great side came together was on the back of one of AFC’s darkest hours in November 1931 when the club was at the centre of a betting scandal that was called the ‘Great Mystery’.

In the main that story has remained as such and it was in the immediate aftermath of that scandal that saw five first team players dropped, never to play for the club again.

That gave opportunities to some of the younger players at Pittodrie to establish themselves in the side some years before they might have been expected to make their mark. Included in a clutch of new debutants was Matt Armstrong.

Armstrong went on to form an almost telepathic partnership with Willie Mills (pictured below with Donald Coleman), who was also elevated into the first team as an emerging 17-year-old inside forward in 1931. They were at the spearhead of that great Aberdeen side that attracted huge pre-war crowds to Pittodrie in the 1930’s.

While club records tumbled, that elusive first trophy proved to be the only blemish on an otherwise faultless report card.



When the great Aberdeen strikers are mentioned; Armstrong, Buckley, Harper, McDougall, Shearer, Rooney etc, one name which is rarely talked about is that of Norman Davidson.


Norrie Davidson

One of ten children Kintore loon Norrie Davidson was fearless, had pace and was a potent weapon in the air. Despite his scoring record supporters of a generation are still divided on his merits and he is probably a player who has never been given the credit he deserved.

84 goals in 146 appearances is a decent record by anyone’s standards.

Like many a player before and after him, Norrie probably suffered from playing in an Aberdeen team that went through a transitional period. The success of the early and mid 50s was no matched towards the end of the decade.

Originally on the groundstaff at Chelsea before homesickness forced his return to the North-east. After a brief spell in the Highland League Aberdeen signed him in February 1955.

An injury to Paddy Buckley gave Norrie his chance against St Mirren in October 1955. His debut was to be no easy job, up against the rugged and experienced stopper Willie Telfer. Norrie put up a more than creditable performance and had the satisfaction of scoring twice.

Two weeks later he scored the Dons only goal in a 4-1 defeat against Clyde to give Norrie three goals in three appearances. As Paddy Buckley continued to struggle with a knee injury Norrie proved himself to be a more than adequate replacement when Buckley was out. He scored four goals in six games until he too succumbed to an ankle injury in October 1956.

With Buckley out injured he returned to first team action against Partick Thistle in January 1957 and his performance meant that a fit again Paddy Buckley could only find a place on the wing for the next game against St Mirren. Aberdeen won 4-1 with Davidson scoring once and his performance saw the press speculate as to whether or not he was a better proposition at centre forward than Paddy Buckley.



Unfortunately the question was never answered as Buckley’s career was effectively over due to injury. Norrie would end the season scoring thirteen goals in twenty three appearances. The 1957-58 season would prove to be Norrie’s most successful at the club as he finished the season having scored twenty-seven goals in thirty eight appearances.

Manager Dave Shaw that summer brought in record signing High Baird and he immediately replaced Norrie at centre forward.

The Dons would have a very mixed campaign to say the least and Norrie’s most important goals that season came on the last day of the League when after five straight defeats the Dons stared relegation in the face. Aberdeen travelled to Ibrox looking for a win that would definitely keep them up. It seemed like an impossible task but Davidson scored twice to give Aberdeen a shock 2-1 win and put them two points clear of relegation.

Knee ligament damage in August 1959 disrupted Norrie’s start to the season but he returned to the team in October in place of Hugh Baird at centre forward and he would finish the season as the club’s top scorer with seventeen goals. His goal tally that season would see him equal a club record by scoring five goals against Brechin City in the Scottish Cup replay in February 1960. In December 1960 after a run of poor results both Norrie and Bobby Wishart paid the price as they were both dropped.

Finding himself out of the first team he made a transfer request and in February 1961 he joined Heart of Midlothian. After leaving Hearts he would have a nomadic period which saw him play for various clubs in Scotland, England and finally teaming up with former team mate Ken Brownlee in South Africa. Norrie now resides in Edinburgh.