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Warrior spirit now developing in Pawlett

Peter Pawlett has become more easily identifiable.

Indeed, ask any SPFL Premiership manager to name the Aberdeen player to whom special attention must be paid and the likelihood is that Pawlett will top the list.

The 22-year-old is known as a forward who carries a certain threat - he has scored five times this season from a position behind a striker - but has also since assumed a new moniker: The Warrior. It might not have been a fitting nickname while Pawlett spent past seasons in the Pittodrie treatment room, or artfully going down under minimal contact from an opponent but he is wearing it well now.

Having found renewed purpose under the tutelage of manager Derek McInnes, the Scotland under-21 internationalist scored the decisive goal in a 2-1 win over Dundee United on New Year's Day. It was a moment which allowed Pawlett to maintain his momentum, the young forward having refused to succumb to the more robust challenges which his form has come to invite.

"The lads have handed Peter a new nickname," said Tony Docherty, the Aberdeen assistant manager. "They're calling him The Warrior, handed out by Willo Flood. Previously, I think his nickname was something along the lines of Not The Warrior.

"You should see the state of Peter's legs because of knocks he's taking. He's nursing plenty of bruises. Teams are trying to stop him because of the way he's playing - he's playing and getting patched up. The Peter of previous years maybe wouldn't have done that. We can only talk about what has happened since we've been here and we are delighted with him. He's living up to his new nickname."

Aberdeen needed to battle against United, with the match threatening at times to become an ill-tempered and tousy affair. Docherty was eager to praise referee Willie Collum too, then, given the official's expert handling of a match marked by a series of uncompromising tackles in difficult conditions.

"It would have been very easy to get caught up in handing out more bookings or red cards on Wednesday," said the assistant manager. "But [Collum] showed a lot of common sense and handled the occasion very well."

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