Manager Jim Goodwin sat down with the media on Thursday lunchtime to preview Saturday’s home match with St Mirren at Pittodrie. To watch in full on RedTV, please click on the red button.
Question. What’s the mood like going into the game this weekend?
Answer. “As positive as it can be. I am excited about our first home league fixture of the season. There is a tinge of disappointment after last weekend, to go behind so early on in the manner that we did, it was extremely frustrating, but I thought the reaction of the players thereafter was very, very good. I’ve been a part of teams in the past who have went there, both as a player and a manager, and when you concede that early on, it’s very easy to go under, so they managed to see that little particular difficult spell in the opening 20 minutes through and to get to half-time at 1-0 and still be very much in the game.
“Celtic were the better team on the day over the whole piece and we can have no arguments with the end result. This Saturday is a completely different game for us to look forward to. There’ll be a completely different game plan as well.”
Q. You’ve now got what’s arguably the toughest challenge in the league out the way for a while, is it almost a case of resetting and starting again?
A. “I tend not to dwell on negative results. We do have a moment where we analyse and we sit down and discuss as a group where we think we could have done better. There’s always things you can learn whether you lose a game or win a game, there’s always things we want to do better, but I’m not going to spend too much time on that Celtic result. We’ve got a run of games coming up now in the month of August, that in my opinion, are all very winnable. None of them are going to be easy, but every one of them we have to go into and try and to be on the front foot, try and be positive and try and have that winning mentality when we’re going into it. That starts this weekend against a very difficult opponent in St Mirren. I’ve got a few familiar faces in that playing squad who I know very well and were brought to the club and who I’ve still got the utmost respect for so I know exactly what to expect from St. Mirren this weekend, but we have to focus on what we can do with the possession that we have, and we need to be on the front foot, take the game to them and and try and get a positive result.
Q. You obviously know St Mirren well, but they’ve brought in a number of new faces over the summer, it will be two different teams who line up against each other last season.
A. “Myself and Stephen Robinson came into both clubs at difficult periods of the season. February is never an easy time to take over a team. You have not got a window to look forward to and we inherited two teams in different situations but both of us at the same time we’re wanting to go in and put our own stamp on things. Stephen will no doubt feel after the recruitment that he’s done now that he’s very much getting his own team together. Similar to myself, I’ve moved 14 or 15 players out and brought nine new faces in so there’s very much a fresh feeling to the whole squad here as I’m sure Stephen Robinson will feel at St. Mirren as well. These are our teams. They have to play the type of football that we want them to play and we have to get the results that both sets of fans will be demanding and expecting.”
Q. Are you any closer to getting any more signings in ahead of the game?
A.” There’s been a lot of speculation from a number of different outlets in the press regarding players coming in and players going out but I don’t really like talking about things that haven’t happened to be honest with you. There’s a lot involved in getting transfers over the line. I’d rather not talk about speculation, I’d rather give you guys the facts once the deals are done. I did mention a few weeks ago that Shayden Morris was a player that I did admire. He’s got attributes that I think would improve our squad, but at the same time, he’s still very much a Fleetwood player.
“Team news, there is nothing major apart from Liam Scales who comes back into the fold having not been allowed to play against Celtic. Connor Barron and Jack MacKenzie still remain side-lined. Other than that we’ve got a fully fit squad to choose from.”
Q. It’s the first home game of the season, is this the most enthusiastic and optimistic part of the season for yourself?
A. “We’ve got a good month coming up now in the month of August. I think we’ve got a run of fixtures coming up that are ones that we should be going into with a very positive outlook. I’m not suggesting for one minute we didn’t have a positive outlook prior to the the Celtic game but we knew how difficult that challenge was going to be. Aberdeen’s record at Parkhead unfortunately in the years gone by hasn’t been great. I don’t think the result would have been too much of a surprise to too many people out there. We did feel that we were capable of getting something but unfortunately, that didn’t quite pan out how I would have liked. This coming month now we have four really good league fixtures. The next two here at home at Pittodrie are very winnable games. I’m not saying that disrespecting the opposition. I have a great belief and great faith in this group that I’ve put together but we’re all well aware of how difficult every game is in this league. There’s not a single fixture that I look at on the calendar and think that there’s a guaranteed three points. I know all of the battles and all the difficulties each game is going to bring.
“Different teams will obviously have different styles and different managers will want to play the game in a different manner, but we have to be able to adapt to that and Saturday is going to be difficult. Saturday will probably be the polar opposite to what we faced at Parkhead last Sunday. Stephen Robinson has spoken openly about setting his team up in a counter attacking fashion and not wanting too much of the ball in terms of possession, but we have to be able to counteract that as well. We know that they’re going to be dangerous on the break and our concentration levels have to be high when we’re in attack because that’s probably when we’ll be at our most vulnerable.
“At the end of August we’ve got that last 16 game against Annan, another difficult opponent but an exciting one to look forward to with the possibility of getting through to the quarter-finals of League Cup. Lots of different challenges for different reasons, but at the same time, all of those games in August I think we will probably be favourites in a lot of people’s eyes going into it. As a group of staff and players, we have to be able to handle that and rise to the expectation.”
Q. How important is it that you’re able to put on a show for your fans and try and get a few points in front of a decent first home league crowd of the season?
A. “Football is an entertainment business at the end of the day. I don’t want to send my team out especially at home in front of our season ticket holders who turn out in great numbers. I don’t want them ever to walk away and think that it was a boring game and it wasn’t value for money. I think in the games that we’ve played, prior to the Celtic game, we’ve got plenty of plaudits from our own fans and from you guys in the media in terms of the manner in which we won those games. The type of football that we played there was plenty of attacking football, there’s plenty of forward runs and forward passes and it was entertaining.
“We have to get back to playing that type of football again, starting this Saturday against St. Mirren. I want us to be recognised as a good possession based football team that plays the game in the right manner and hopefully has plenty of attacking opportunities. We’re going to have to defend the box at times because St Mirren are a very big team, they try and get the ball in your box as often as possible. They are quite direct, lots of long throws, lots of set plays coming into our box. The centre backs, midfielders and the goalkeepers are going to have to be willing to go and compete but at the same time, I would expect us to have more of the ball than what St Mirren have and it’s really important what we do with it.”
Q. You’ve signed various exciting attacking players, will they be given freedom to go and express themselves at weekends?
A. “We’ve got a game plan going into every game depending on the opposition, but I always want the boys to be attack minded. My two centre halves, my goalkeeper, my holding midfielder, sometimes two holding midfielders, need to be disciplined and need to be organised and need to make sure that we’re not getting counter attacked on. The rest of the players in the team, the front six or seven have got the licence to go and be positive and go and do those different rotations that we’ve been working hard on in pre-season. They’re starting to develop good relationships now in the attacking third and it’s time for that to come to fruition now. It would be great for that to happen in our first league game here at Pittodrie in front of our home fans. It would be brilliant to send them home happy on Saturday evening with a few goals and a clean sheet.”
Q. How much of a boost is it to have Liam Scales back and perhaps is it a chance for Ross McCrorie to move back into the midfield position?
A. “I think Ross is one of our top goal scorers at the moment coming out of the League Cup group stage. We’ve asked Ross to to be that number eight, box to box midfielder but we want him to be arriving in the opposition box in good timing and hopefully getting on the end of some crosses and scoring some good goals as well along the way. Liam is a player who I’ve admired for a number of years and tried to get him at my previous club as well. I am delighted to have him here. He showed the qualities that he is going to bring to the squad during those games in the League Cup. We were disappointed not to have him against Celtic for obvious reasons. He will come straight back into the team on Saturday because he’s a top, top player and we want to have our best players on the pitch at all times.”