Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes explained his decision to abandon Sam Cosgrove – and hinted that Curtis Main could lead the line against Celtic.
The Dons ended a series of goal-free games as they beat Hamilton 3-1 on Tuesday, with Cosgrove, top scorer, exiting the starting XI.
But Aberdeen’s boss insisted that it doesn’t mean he wasn’t happy with the attacker, who simply felt he needed to rest.
McInnes said, “In all honesty to Sam, Sam has carried that weight for a while.
“When you have a 21 goal striker in the building, any manager would be reluctant to leave him out.
“But there comes a point where you have to be loyal to the boy himself.
“Sam will come again, whether starting Sunday or off the bench, the fact is that in the past 18 months he has been in such a good shape that you would never ignore him promptly.
“But there comes a point where others deserve an opportunity and for Sam’s benefit, he has to get out of the team to go again.
“Curtis led the line well and was part of an excellent team performance. It was fantastic for him to reach his goal in the channels, which we want to see more of, rather than just a player who wants to keep the ball inside.
“But Sam is too important for us to be a partial player. Sam will come again.”
Main claimed his claim with the initial goal against Hamilton mid-week, with ex Motherwell striker stating that he expected to stay on the team.
McInnes replied: “I think his words have been slightly distorted, but if you are a striker and you have scored a goal and have been part of a good team performance, it is likely.
“Curtis has given us a sign of what he is capable of. The supporters and I looked for that kind of performance.
“Like any manager, if your striker is scoring goals and playing well in a winning team performance, you very rarely leave him out.
“This is so for the attackers, if they score a goal they are able to run.
“Playing them together? It’s something we’ve considered a few times.
“They played together a few times and when Curtis or Sam left the bench.
“For too long we have relied on Sam, we are looking for others to insert.
“The boy deserves the opportunity to take a break, look from the outside and enter again.”