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ACE PATON ROCKETING UP RATINGS; Now Mike's goal is home strike.

Byline: Ian Orr

MICHAEL PATON is determined to become a Red Army hero by shooting down bitter rivals Rangers today.

The youngster, fast-tracked for stardom by Mark McGhee, has never scored a goal at Pittodrie and is desperate to set the record straight and show why he is so highly rated.

The forward, who netted at Ibrox last season, is certain the Dons can pile more misery on the ailing champions by inflicting another defeat today.

Paton said: "I want to know what it feels like to score in front of our supporters and if it's against Rangers it will be much better.

"They are defending champions and top of the league so it would be a real boost for us to get the victory. I watched their European game in midweek and we really need to be careful because they'll be in the mood to bounce back.

"They won't be happy at being out of the Champions League and will want to take it out on us. Anyway, this is always a big game for both sides.

"But even when we were down to 10 men against Motherwell last week we were still comfortable.That shows how well we have been playing and I don't see why we can't get the win against them.

"We were unlucky not to get a draw at Ibrox at the end of last season while we got a point there in September. They know what they are up against because we're hard to beat on our own patch."

Backlash Paton is delighted with his progress under a boss he rates highly.

The 20-year-old said: "I'm really happy as things couldn't get much better for me. The manager coming in has been a boost as it doesn't matter what age you are, he will put you in the team. If you play well and keep progressing, you will keep your place and you can't say fairer than that.

"I've started a lot of games and now the aim is to get a lot more goals. The fact Mark McGhee has a lot of belief in me means I feel confident I can make that happen. He takes me aside for specialised training and I am learning a lot from that so it's brilliant he's here.

"I am too young to have seen him play but I can tell from the way he explains things as a former striker that he must have been good.

"The gaffer said it was all about movement for him when it came to scoring because he wasn't the biggest and he's trying to get me to do the same."

Rangers have won just once in eight visits to the Granite City but McGhee reckons that record makes his side's task even tougher.

The Dons boss, who expects a backlash after the Ibrox men's Champions League exit, said: "That record is maybe more of a worry for Rangers than it is a positive for me because every time you play the Old Firm you start again. They'll know that and they'll want to change it.

"They had a disappointing result in midweek and I don't think that'll have any bearing other than in a positive way for Walter Smith as they'll come out determined.

"It's not great for us they lost in Europe. In fact, it might have been better had they won.

"Rangers and Celtic still remain the teams to beat. Dundee United managed it, we got a draw and we think that tomorrow we're in good enough shape to give them a scare.

"In a sense, it's a test of character for Rangers and I don't have any doubts that if we could hurt them, if we could get 2-0 up, then it would be a real test of their character.

"But with them coming here it'll be a test of our character rather than theirs.

"The test for the young players, and we have some fabulous ones, is always when you're struggling. If we were here and 2-0 down and up against it with the crowd growling, then they need help and that's when you can't rely on them.

"We've talked about them and rightly so but I'm absolutely thrilled about the form Mark Kerr, Gary McDonald, Jerel Ifil and Richard Foster are now starting to show.

"They're looking like the players who finished fourth in the SPL the last couple of seasons so a huge part of our improvement is about them and not just the young players."

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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Nov 28, 2009
Words:759
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