Feb 172017
 

By Red Fin Hall.

This rescheduled league game is Aberdeen’s game in hand over the rest of the league. It comes two days after defender Andy Considine became the third player to commit their future to the club, and Derek McInnes telling the media that still has a lot of unfinished business in the North East, and has no interest in The Rangers’ managerial position.

Being unable to field an unchanged team tonight due to the suspension of Graeme Shinnie, Ryan Christie stepped into the breach.

Referee Alan Muir got the game under way in fin not of a crowd of just over 10,600 on a clear and fine evening.

With Andrew Considine having just signed an new contract keeping him at the club for another couple of years, and Derek McInnes reiterating his desire to stay at the club, despite the (by now boring) insistence of certain sections of Main Stream Media that he is certain to be on his way to Govan, the good feeling amongst fans was running high.

That feeling was well and truly justified when the match was but a mere two minutes old when a shot toward Motherwell’s goal from Shay Logan was blocked. It fell to Adam Rooney whose shot also was blocked. The loose ball fell to Jonny Hayes who, from the edge of the area, shot into the goal past all the defenders from a tight angle to make it 1-0 before some fans had even taken their seats.

Motherwell were awarded a corner in the 4th minute, but it troubled no-one.

Setting the tone of the game, Aberdeen were looking sharp and pacy as usual. With ten minutes having elapsed, Logan had a go from the right side of the pitch but his shot was more than wayward, and almost high enough to go over the roof of The Merkland Stand.

As the Dons pressed hard looking for more goals, even this early, Christie had himself in a good position just outside the box, but looking a tad unconfident, dithered about too much and the chance was squandered.

Some nice interplay between Niall McGinn and Hayes and Rooney followed, but the latter’s overhead kick went just wide.

With not even 15 minutes in the clock, Christie again had the ball at the edge of the box, This time he didn’t hesitate but his shot too went wide. Aberdeen were certainly looking hungry for more goals. This piece of action was swiftly followed by a very good pass by McGinn to Christie, who was running through. The ball was just a tad too long and fast for he youngster to reach.

Aberdeen were given he first free kick of the game when Hayes was tripped in his own half.

Still looking strong going forward, Christie became the provider and Hayes the receptor. Taking an example of Logan some minutes previously, he too blootered the ball high and wide. Nevertheless this pair were leading by example and, linking up well, another effort from the loan signing, Christie was the result of this partnership.

finally fulfilling his potential since signing from St Mirren a couple of seasons ago

Lee Lucas for the visitors tripped Kenny McLean. McLean took the kick himself, but it was too far out to cause any concern for Craig Samson in goal.
With even the home defence venturing upfield, an excellent ball in to Ash Taylor from Christie saw the tall Englishman head just wide. Desperately seeking a second goal, Hayes saw another attempt go just wide.

Lucas then found himself being the first player to be booked for committing a second foul; this time on Christie. From 30 yards out, the kick was taken by McLean who seems to be finally fulfilling his potential since signing from St Mirren a couple of seasons ago. He aimed the ball for Considine, but a corner was the only reward.

Coming from the left side, McGinn took said corner kick. He too aimed his shot towards Consi. The defender was standing at the far post, he gratefully got on the end of the ball and headed it downwards and bouncing into the net for Aberdeen’s well deserved second goal.

2-0.

Great persistent play just a wee while later, by Hayes, after a mistake by Motherwell captain, Keith Lasley, as he failed to get the ball clear in his own area, saw the Aberdeen number 11 pass to Rooney, who was situated by the back post. He made no mistake and slotted the ball into the net.

3-0
 
Rooney was through on his own again a few moments later, after he gathered a slack ball from a Motherwell player , but a well timed tackle from Richard Tait prevented another goal.

With 41 minutes gone, McGinn took another corner. He passed the ball to nearby Hayes; he touched over to Considine, he then slipped to Christie who was badly marked just inside the opposition’s box, and with the outside of his left foot chipped it smartly into to top right corner of the net.

4-0, and potential goal of the month.

Two minutes later, a superb angled, long ball by McLean found Rooney who proceeded to sky it ala Logan and Hayes.

Just as  half time was upon us, Christie, enjoying his first start, made a great run and cut the ball back to captain Ryan Jack. His shot went marginally wide.

Half time: 4-0. The players left the field as the whole stadium stood and gave them a rousing ovation. Well, apart from the few visiting fans.

The second half got underway, with no changes made by either side, and The Dons starting off just as the completed the previous 45 minutes, with Christie bursting through again. This time his pass found the ever willing Hayes but the Irishman’s shot went wide.

Whatever Motherwell manager Mark McGhee said to his players at half time, it certainly had an effect. For the next 10 -12 minutes they made a bit more effort to try and get something from the game, but without really causing Aberdeen any real cause for concern.

it took five tellings from the ref and the intervention of a police officer

Considine was booked for something unknown, as many fans were expecting the free kick to be awarded the other way for a handball. The resultant free kick was assuredly snatched out of the air by Joe Lewis and the ball promptly dispatched to Christie.

At the end of that move McGinn fired an absolute screamer from around 39 yards out. It was turned out for a Corner by Samson who was having a good game.

The referee then gave a free kick to Motherwell for another mysterious infringement.

On the 60 minute mark, Taylor was rightly booked for for a badly mistimed challenge on Ryan Bowman. Before the free kick was taken, the referee had to go over to the dug-outs and and deal with the Motherwell manager who, apparently was having a right go at the fourth official. He was then summarily dispatched to the stands – although it took five tellings from the ref and the intervention of a police officer before he made his way to a seat amidst of a bunch of Aberdeen fans.

Shortly thereafter, Aberdeen were awarded a penalty when Logan was bundled over in the box. Obviously Rooney stepped up to take it, and obviously he didn’t miss.

5-0

Motherwell introduced the first substitute of the evening in the 67th minute, when Elliot Frear was replaced by Craig Clay.

That didn’t help them though, as they hadn’t had a chance to get into the game, when another McGinn corner found Rooney, who netted his hat trick. 

6-0

Rooney was then taken off and Jayden Stockley came on. McGinn also left the field of play, and Peter Pawlett took his place.

Mark Reynolds proceeded to foul Louis Moult, and a free kick was given. 

Lewis then makes an uncharacteristic error and came off his line to try and pull the ball out of the air and missed. Bowman headed the ball  over him and into the net.

6-1 

Taylor then had a second of carelessness by passing the ball a few feet to Bowman, who, fortunately, didn’t manage to take advantage of the mistake.

Stockley, who has more to his game than just his height, made a great cross to McGinn who’s effort was saved.

There followed a great run by Hayes, who crossed the ball to the far post to Logan, who in turn passed it to Stockley. His overhead kick, like several attempts by others previously, went a tad wide.

Aberdeen made their final substitution of the game, when Miles Storey came on, and Christie went off to a standing ovation.

Motherwell went upfield on a rare foray, and were given a corner. The said corner was missed by every defender to get to the far post, where number 88 for the visitors, Stephen Pearson, scored.

6-2

Aberdeen weren’t finished yet. Enjoying their dominance, and perhaps aggrieved by conceding two poor goals, and with only 8 minutes to go, Hayes led the charge back up field. He slipped the ball to Pawlett, and the substitute put it away.

7-2

This goal was the 7999th goal to be scored since the SPFL was formed 3 1/2 years ago. Stockley had another shot saved by their keeper, who was the only player in their team who can hold his head up, despite the deficit.

He was called into action again, and quite spectacularly so, when Taylor picked up the ball just around his own half and set off on a run, before firing in a fantastic shot from about 35 yards out. Samson reacted brilliantly to what would have been goal of the game, if not goal of the month, and dived and palmed it away.

The match ended soon after with home crowd exceedingly happy with the unexpected result, and the few fans from Lanarkshire anything but. I expect some would have demanded their money back, if they hadn’t been given free admission due to the fact that Aberdeen decided, because of the floodlight failure in the original game, it would be unfair to charge them twice.

Full Time: 7-2

Up next for The Dons is an away trip to Ayrshire on Sunday where they will meet manager-less Kilmarnock. Since Derek McInnes took charge, we have played them 12 times and won every time.

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Feb 172017
 

With thanks to Yvette Rayner, PR Account Manager, Frasermedia.

A football-mad Aberdeen family firm is helping local youngster to gear up for local football festivals. Greenwell Equipment (Greenwell), which is based in East Tullos, has provided high quality track-suit tops and bottoms to 27 boys at Newmachar United Football Club. 

The boys, aged 6-8 years, attend football festivals across the North-east and train at the Newmachar Axis Centre.

Mark Turnbull, managing director of Greenwell, is a big supporter of the club, and his son Cal, age 6, has been playing with Newmachar United FC for over two years.

Greenwell Equipment supplies modular buildings, containers, warehouse shelving and pallet racking and office furniture across the world, and the family run firm employs 15 people.

Managing director Mark is a keen football fan, and played himself as a boy and young man. He has recently started assisting the coaches at the club, with a view to training to becoming a qualified coach.

Mr Turnbull said:

“I am delighted to help out Newmachar United FC. It is a great, local club, which gives youngsters the chance to get some exercise, acquire new skills and learn how to work well in a team. Greenwell Equipment also supports Aberdeen Football Club’s Youth Academy, as we see football as an important local activity and also a great discipline and training ground for young people.”

Derek Reid, one of the coaches for the club said:

“We are really grateful for Mark and Greenwell for their support. We often attend football festivals and the other teams all look great in their kit, so we are thrilled to see our boys all now looking professional. It gives the players a real sense of pride and belonging. Newmachar United FC is an inclusive club, there are no try-outs, and we are open to every child of any ability, so we try to keep our costs to a minimum.

“Kit sponsorship is important as it makes the boys proud to belong to Newmachar United FC, and encourages them to try their best for the team. The cost of football strips, equipment and transport can add up, so we welcome all the support we can get. The boys are delighted with the new, warm track-suits which they are wearing with pride.”

Greenwell Equipment comprises of four divisions, encompassing: Greenwell Warehousing, a supplier of high quality shelving and pallet racking; Greenwell Cabins, a distributor of accommodation and welfare modules; Greenwell Office, a supplier of a wide range of business furniture both new and second-hand, and Greenwell Containers, a supplier of high-quality shipping containers.

Family-run business Greenwell, which has 15 employees, is the North of Scotland official trading partner for Containex modular buildings. Greenwell holds a large stock at its depots across Aberdeen and Angus, enabling the firm to respond quickly to customers’ demands.

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Feb 052017
 

League business returned to Pittodrie today, with a visit to the city of Glasgow’s oldest established professional football club. By Red Fin Hall.

After yet another defeat last Wednesday to Celtic, the need to get back to winning ways was crucial.

McInnes decided to start with the same team that he went with in the previous six games, despite a section of fans calling for Ash Taylor to be replaced.

Fans are fickle.

But it was good to see Jonny Hayes still at the club. He will have to wait until summer at least before he can buy his sought after iPhone 7s.

Referee, Greg Aitken, got the game underway at precisely the allocated time on another cold and sunny day. The Dons won their first free kick in seven minutes, but it was too far out for Niall McGinn to do anything with.

Partick Thistle number 19, Ryan Edwards, was the first opposition player to try and make a breakthrough, but to no avail. Five minutes later the visitors were awarded their first free kick. It was taken from within the centre circle, but it was well intercepted by Kenny McLean. Good strong play by him.

Just after, Daniel Devine played a poor passback to Tomas Cerny in the Thistle goal, giving the keeper only enough time to hoof it out of play for an Aberdeen throw in. The culmination of the set piece was a 12th minute shot by McLean from the edge of the box which was bundled safely away by their goalie.

The Dons meant business, and after receiving the pass from Graeme Shinnie, McGinn tried an shot from around 30 yards out. It was a pretty poor, but it took a deflection off Devine and nearly caught Cerny out.

The first corner of the game went to Partick in the 17th minute. Two minutes after that award, they were give a free kick which was taken by the lively Edwards. It caused Joe Lewis no problem.

Aberdeen that had a good chance to open the scoring when a very good ball in from Jonny Hayes was aimed towards Adam Rooney, but his attempt at an overhead kicked only ended up with the forward swiping at fresh air. Fortunately, the ball arrived at the feet of Andrew Considine, who was pushing up from defence. He had a reasonable chance, but his effort towards the goal from within the area was not good enough.

Alan Archibald, obviously, had a plan to deal with Aberdeen, which mainly consisted of playing nine across the back any time the Reds pushed forward. It was working, as the home team were huffing and puffing their way through the game at this juncture. Don’t get me wrong, there was some tidy enough play, but when Ash Taylor put a low diagonal pass towards Rooney, in the 23rd minute, it was just out of reach.

The Aberdeen defence was caught out when Stephen Lawless and Kris Doolan were on their own up front, bearing down on Lewis. Running back from his more forward position, McGinn made a timely tackle just as they were lining up the shot.

Partick were no mugs and kept trying.

That seemed to wake the Dons up a bit, and Ryan Jack had a shot on target from 25 yards out. It was headed clear by Liam Lindsay, who was wearing a protective face mask, for a corner.

This was taken by McGinn, from the left, reaching Taylor who executed a superb header which just went inches past the post.

Just before the half hour mark, Hayes, up to his usual high standard, showed some exemplary play by beating three players and firing a low cross in to be met by McLean, whose shot was just wide.

Partick were no mugs and kept trying. They broke upfield again, and won another corner. But as with all the set pieces from both sides today, Edwards’ effort was poor.

36 minutes in, Taylor showed the good side of his play, when he executed a smashing interception as Partick captain, Abdul Osman, had only Lewis to beat. This was a better period of play from the visitors. Number 13, Adam Barton, tried a low ball in from the right, but it was easily held by Lewis.

The Dons were awarded a free kick just inside the opposition half, too far out to try a shot. Shay Logan fired the ball into the goal area, causing problems amongst the Partick defence and culminating in an on target shot from Shinnie.

With half time approaching, there seemed to be a temporary period where Rooney lacked commitment, as his control of a Hayes pass left a lot to be desired. Things weren’t helped when he got his head to a ball into the area from McGinn, and the referee awarded an ‘alternative foul’.

Just before the whistle blew, Shinnie was clearly held, but the referee was extremely slow to react.

Half time: 0-0.

No changes to the line ups as Thistle started brightly with a good ball in from the left by number 14, Chrissie Elliot, to Edwards. Thankfully his shot went wide. The Aberdeen defence were fair caught napping there.

The game was stopped soon after when Jack went down and needed treatment for a head knock. The referee though saw nothing wrong with the challenge that meant the captain had to leave the field for a few minutes.

McGinn then had one of his trademark runs into the box, but the move petered out when the final ball fro Shinnie was below par.

Partick made the first sub when Kris Doolan was replaced by the robust looking, Ade Azeez.

A brave decision when it was still goal-less.

Andrew Considine was booked in 55 minutes for a foul on Osman. The resultant free kick was headed over. It looked at this stage like maybe Wednesday’s defeat to Celtic was having an affect on the players.

Partick made the first substitution when Kris Doolan was replaced by the robust looking, Ade Azeez.

Something needed to be changed for the Dons, and Derek McInnes made the controversial decision to take off two defenders, Logan and Mark Reynolds, and replace them with Jayden Stockley and recent loan signing from Celtic, Ryan Christie. This meant they changed to playing with a three man defence with Jack dropping back into the centre of the three; McGinn and Hayes were utilised as wing backs. A brave decision when it was still goal-less.

However, the double substitution appeared to be a great move, as pretty soon after taking to the field, Christie tried to chip the keeper. Unfortunately it went straight to Cerny.

In the 70th minute, Hayes on fire, hit a ferocious shot into the box, which Cerny could only turn round for a Corner.

From the corner, McGinn fired an inswinger into the box and, unmarked, Stockley beautifully headed the pall into the net for the deserved opener.

1-0

Partick made a second change when David Amoo was taken off and Chris Erskine came on.

Cerny had to be sharp, when a McGinn cross was heading for Stockley as he was trying get his second goal. Partick were struggling to contain Aberdeen now, with Rooney, Stockley and Christie proving to be a handful up front. Christie tried again, albeit unsuccessfully, to lob the keeper after receiving a pass from Stockley.

In the 79th minute, Considine and Jack were uncharacteristically caught out when Azeez got a pretty good shot in. He was disappointed to see it go six inches past the post. A lucky escape for the Dons.

The final substitutions were forthcoming when Partick’s Kevin Nisbet came on for Edwards, and Rooney was replaced by defender Anthony O’Connor with less than ten minutes to play. Reverting to a four man defence, Shinnie went to left back and Jack went back into midfield.

With only four minutes left, Aberdeen went looking for another goal to kill the game, and a cute back heeler from Hayes found Shinnie, but nothing came of it.

Partick weren’t dead and buried yet, but their final chance came when Azeez had a crack. But his ball went high, wide, and not very handsome. The fourth official then indicated there would be four minutes of stoppage time to play.

It was two minutes into it when, as the Dons, finishing the game on a high, kept the pressure up. It paid off when solo striker, Stockley, flicked the ball unselfishly to Christie, who finished off comfortably for his debut goal in only his second appearance.

Full time: 2-0. 

A very tactically astute football match by both managers, but McInnes assuredly won that particular battle. Next home game is on 15 Feb, when the rescheduled match v Motherwell takes place. Hope the floodlights stay on!

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Jan 282017
 

By Red Fin Hall.

It was a return to league business today, and a relatively short trip north for the visitors tonight. 
These Friday evening games have proven popular, and for a change, the powers that reschedule these games have been sensible in having Dundee the opposition, rather than Motherwell, Hamilton or some other further away club; making it easy for travelling fans is not normally in the remit of the television companies.

The team line-up remained unchanged with somewhat controversial new loan signing, Ryan Christie on the bench.

The strong Dons’ team were looking to win 5 on the bounce on this gine but cold evening.

Approximately 11,000 fans saw Graeme Shinnie get the first strong tackle of the game a mere three minutes into the game.

A minute later good linking play involving Andrew Considine and Niall McGinn with the final ball just your far ahead of Jonny Hayes.

Dundee counter attacked and a good ball into Aberdeen goal mouth, for the first shot on target for the visitors, was safely held by Joe Lewis, the ever-present in the Aberdeen goal.

The Dons were taking some time to settle, with Dundee harassing them and, at this point, their number 33, Craig Wighton, looking sharp. They won a free kick around 4 yards out from the edge of the Aberdeen box, but it came to naught. Then in the 10th minute captain Paul McGowan chipped a ball off the crossbar.

A couple of minutes later the home team were awarded their first free kick of the game by referee Kevin Clancy, when Hayes was bundle off the ball.

Aberdeen had their first real chance on the quarter of an hour mark, when McGinn placed a corner kick perfectly into the goal area, but Mark Reynolds, up from defence, headed it just wide.

Another corner kick was far too long for anybody to get on the end of. Their next corner was won when a McGinn shot was turned over the by-line.

Dundee then broke upfield and on the 21st minute had a goal chalked off for offside. The Dons by this time had started to dominate the game and a long pass from Ash Taylor which defender Julen Extabeguren got his head to, fell to McGinn who’s chip shot went just over.

Keeping the pressure up, a free kick was awarded when Adam Rooney was fouled, and the effort, again from McGinn, was tipped over by ex Don Scott Bain.

The breakthrough came around the 29th minute, whith good  work  by Hayes and McGinn, with the   latter putting in a superb ball to find Captain Ryan Jack rising through middle of the defending pack, to header home.

1-0

Before you could draw breath, another cross in from McGinn was cut out by in form Bain as Shay Logan was running in.  Logan was then the perpetrator of the next move, when he executed a superb cross from the right wing, which was defended well by Extabeguren.

Taylor and Rooney were the next Dons to have an exchange of play, setting up Kenny McLean, who seems to relish slightly forward p,aging position. His close angle effort was saved though.

With only 6 minutes left of the first half, Dundee got their first corner.

The ever-determined Shinnie then slipped a great pass to McGinn, but the only reward for the move was another corner.

The referee then deemed Hayes had fouled a Dundee player after the Aberdeen man had ran 25 yards to knock the ball off the feet of the man. A ridiculous decision if ever there was one.

Aberdeen were searching for the second goal, and chip from Taylor from 30 yards out was deflected of off Kosta Gadzhalov and into the Dundee stopper’s arms. 

The potential goal of the month came next. Just on half time, a ball into the Dundee box was met by the rejuvenated Taylor, who rose above the defenders and headed the ball back to the oncoming McGinn who majestically volleyed into the net to rapturous salutations from fans and team mates alike.

2-0

Both teams started the second half without making any changes and Aberdeen kicked off towards the home end.

The referee seemed intent in making some baffling decision; this time penalising Shinnie as he stopped the ball just before it reached the feet of an opposition player.

Nine minutes into this half, a free kick taken by McGinn from around 40 yards out, went straight across the front of the goal with no takers.

With 58 minutes elapsed, McLean picked up the ball up and ran swiftly in towards the goal, but his shot was turned round for a corner. McGinn, on top form was tackled as he made yet another goalward run.

At this point Dundee, despite being a much poorer quality team than the hosts, were still trying to create something instead of just playing spoiling football. But the quality isn’t there, especially after losing their top two goal scorers during the summer. Manager, ex-Dons Captain Paul Hartley, was possibly staging a protest against the board by only naming 5 subs to sit on the bench.

After the first booking for Dundee, for a foul on McGinn, his free kick was headed just wide by Rooney.

There then followed a period of scrappy play by both sides, brightened only by Hayes making a fabulous, pacy run into the area, only to have his close range shot saved by the in form Bain.

Shinnie found his way into the referee’s book for persistent fouling with just over 15 minutes left to play.

Dundee were the first team to make a substitution when Faissal el Bakhtaoui replaced Extagabeguren. This substitute for the visitors, changed their style of play, as they swamped the midfield making it harder for Aberdeen to break them down. You got the impression Hartley was now just trying to keep the score somewhat respectable.

With 10 minutes left, the crowd were baying for a free kick as Hayes tumbled to the ground, but, for a change, I believe the man in the middle made the correct decision. It looked like shoulder to shoulder to my eyes.

A minute later, the same man picked up the ball on the left, and fired in great ball. The head of McGinn made perfect contact with it and steered in into the back of the net for his second goal of the night, and his team’s third.

3-0

That’s 4 goals in two games for the Northern Irish International player. If he keeps this form up, and he refuses to sign a new contract, he should be a rather fine, free investment for some club south of the border.

Aberdeen then made their first change of the evening, with Hayes departing the field, and Ryan Christie coming on to a generally warm welcome.

The final 10 minutes saw Rooney, who wasn’t on his sharpest form tonight, being taken off and Miles Storey coming on. Then, two goal hero McGinn was replaced by Scott Wright.

The changes didn’t alter anything, and the latter pair didn’t really have enough time or opportunity to create anything, although Storey looked lively.

After the 3 minutes of allocated stoppage time had passed, the referee blew the final whistle, and another satisfactory victory for Aberdeen was gained to move them, at least until tomorrow mid afternoon, back into second place.

Final Score: 3-0

Aberdeen now face a tough away match against runaway league leaders Celtic on Wednesday before returning to Pittodrie next Saturday afternoon when Partick Thistle will be the visitors. 

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Jan 222017
 

By Red Fin Hall.

It seems like ages since a ball has been kicked in anger by AFC.

It was a welcome return to Pittodrie for the continuation of the football season, with lower league Stranraer the opposition for only the 5th time in both teams’ long history.

It’s the first home Scottish Cup tie since Dumbarton visited the North East in March 2014.

The Dons fielded their preferred and strongest line up, with James Maddison having returned to his parent club, Norwich, and intended loan signing, Stevie May, not yet in situ.

From the kick off, Niall McGinn went up field and had his first shot towards the visitor’s goal. Aberdeen were awarded their first corner, created by Adam Rooney, but Andrew Considine’s strong header went over the crossbar.
Five minutes into the game, number 33 for the visitors, Willie Gibson had a shot, if one can call it that, easily held by Joe Lewis.

In the 7th minute, a pass by captain Ryan Jack over to the left found Jonny Hayes, who in turn passed to McGinn, whose shot was well saved keeper. Two minutes later the same man had a weak shot from 30 yards out.

Ash Taylor, comfortable in the centre of defence since regaining his place from Anthony O’Connor, executed a perfect long pass down the right finding McGinn. His poor touch fell to Hayes, who continued the move, finding Considine who had found his way forward from left back. The move ended there though. The Dons needed to settle down and show their obvious superiority.

The two players under the speculation of transfer rumours, McGinn and Hayes, were on their best form and causing problems everyone they were on the ball. The latter, looking to be worth much more than the derisory 1/2 million pounds Cardiff offered for him, laying on another chance for the former, but Kenny Mclean was a bit too keen and sort of got in the way preventing him being able to pull off a clean shot.

Just after that McGinn audaciously tried to chip the keeper from 50 yards out. But Belford was able to get underneath the ball and hold it.

Twenty one minutes in saw Hayes fouled, but referee Don Robertson played advantage. Hayes found Shay Logan, who put the ball into the goal area, but neither Rooney nor any other player in red, was able to find the net for the opening goal.

Kenny McLean was the next to have a shot, but it was stopped by the keeper. McGinn was the provider this time, as he executed a great pass to Logan; he beat the offside trap but defender, Liam Dick, got his foot in to prevent the opener.

Stranraer were awarded a free kick on 28 minutes, when Graeme Shinnie brought down Willie Gibson, who took the free kick himself. It came to naught and the ball fell to the ever willing Hayes who broke upfield, put a perfect ball in for Adam Rooney to get on the end of and fire into the net to claim that much anticipated first goal for the Dons. 

This brought his total for the club to 69, making him the top scorer for Aberdeen this century. One more that Darren Mackie: but over a shorter period.

1-0

The Dons were intent on keeping the pressure up, with Considine having too chances within a minute of each other. Both just off target. In the 34th minute, the lead was extended when McGinn picked up the ball just inside the opposition’s half, and he had only one thought in mind as he ran up the left side if the pitch.

He made short change of the two defenders in his way, and with the keeper closing in, hammered the ball past him and into the goal.

2-0

If anyone thought they were going to sit on their laurels until halftime, they were mistaken as Hayes was the next to have a shot, but his effort went straight across the front of the goalmouth.

With only ten minutes left in the action-packed first half, Aberdeen were awarded a free kick which came to nothing.  Moments later though, Mark Reynolds found Rooney with a superb ball from just outside the box. The ball was heading into the bottom left corner, but the on form keeper for the away team deftly turned it out for a corner.

Hayes had another chance just before half time, but he totally skyed it

Half time: 2-0

No changes were made by either side at the start often the second half, and three minutes into the half, Shinnie had a shot that the keeper couldn’t hold, but managed to keep it out anyway.

The third goal wasn’t long in coming. During a scramble in the visitors’ box, the referee spotted a deliberate hand ball by Morgyn Neill and pointed to the spot. Needless to say, Rooney stepped up, and despite the keeper guessing the right way, the Irish striker made no mistake and scored his 2nd and Aberdeen’s 3rd of the game.

3-0

Both Hayes and Shinnie showed next that they weren’t shot shy, but Belford was having a good game. He also denied Logan a goal.

Five minutes later, McGinn got his second goal to make the score much a more plausible 4-0. This came as the result of team work with Considine, Shinnie, who did well to hold off Gibson, and Ryan Jack, before McGinn joined Rooney in being the first two players to score goals in four competitions in one season since 93/94.

4-0

Stranraer made their first substitution with Kyle Turner replacing David Barron.

On the 61 minute mark, McGinn fired in another attempt from the left side at an angle, but only managed to win yet another corner. A few minutes after that Aberdeen made their first change of the day with Hayes departing the field and Peter Pawlett replacing him.

At the same time, managerless Stranraer took Mark McGuigan off and put on David Wilson.

The visitors must take credit for not sitting back and playing a defensive game. Their substitutes had the desired effect of tightening up their midfield, whereas Pawlett seemed to take a wee bit longer to settle. The men from the borders made their final substitution soon after with Guiliano Morena coming on and Ryan Thomson going off.

The Dons meanwhile replaced Considine with youngster, Scott Wright. The effect of this was noticeable as Wright showed his keenness and pace by taking the ball swiftly and fearlessly towards the opposition goal.

Rooney was trying hard to get his hat trick, and he was very unlucky not to get it, when, the ball just refused to cross the line.

Another of Aberdeen’s youth players, a Frank Ross, came on to replace McKean in the midfield. Here was another young man showing that this big occasion held no fear for him.

There wasn’t over much time for him to do anything as the referee blew the whistle for full time with no stoppage time added.

All in all a thoroughly professional performance by the lads. Hopefully the same thing can be done on Friday evening when Dundee, albeit a tougher proposition make the trip north.

Final score: Aberdeen 4 Stranraer 0

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Dec 292016
 

With thanks to Eoin Smith, Senior Account Executive, Tricker PR.

 Erin Wyness (RGUBC) and Fiona Bell (AUBC) hope to lead their teams to victory in the 2017 Aberdeen Boat Race.

Old rivalries will be reignited this March as Aberdeen’s two universities take to the River Dee in a fierce battle of nerves and determination.

The Aberdeen Boat Race – Scotland’s longest running boat race – returns for its 22nd year on Saturday, 4 March 2017 at 5.30pm thanks to the continued support of global investment group, Aberdeen Asset Management.

The University of Aberdeen has challenged five-time reigning champions Robert Gordon University (RGU) to a rematch following 2016’s exhilarating race in which both crews smashed the course record.

Following a close race in which the mixed crews gave it their all over the 3.5km course, RGU emerged triumphant by just a quarter of a length in an impressive seven minutes and 38.6 seconds.

Ahead of the main race, the day’s programme will also include second crew, alumni and media team races. Students, alumni and members of the public are invited down onto the banks of the Dee to cheer on the crews.

Erin Wyness (20), president of RGU Boat Club, believes that her crew has what it takes to bring home the trophy for the sixth year in a row. The Events Management student from Aberdeen says:

“Of all the races we compete in throughout the year, the Aberdeen Boat Race is by far the highlight for the clubs in Aberdeen. The University of Aberdeen squad is looking strong, but we’ve been training hard in order to lift the trophy again. Bring on March 4th.” 

Aberdeen University Boat Club president Fiona Bell (21), however, is confident that this will be the year that the historic institution will break RGU’s winning streak. Sport and Exercise Science student Fiona, who hails from Kilmacolm near Glasgow, says:

“We’ve been out on the water in all weathers – in daylight and darkness – to make sure we’re ready to take on RGU and the crew is in good shape. After RGU winning for five years straight, defeat is not an option – it’s time for us to reclaim the title.”

The annual boat race – hailed as Scotland’s equivalent of the Oxford-Cambridge boat race – stretches from the Bridge of Dee to the Aberdeen Boat Club, offering many great vantage points for spectators along the course. Each team of eight, and their coxes, have already begun an intensive training regime to reach peak physical fitness for the race.

Professor Sir Ian Diamond, principal and vice-chancellor of the University of Aberdeen, says:

“The dedication and hard work of the Aberdeen Boat Race crews is an inspiration to all of us. The rowers from both universities put everything they have into the race and it is a fantastic occasion. The result of last year’s race was incredibly close, and I am looking forward to another hard-fought contest in March.”

Professor Ferdinand von Prondzynski, principal of RGU, adds: “Few sporting events are more closely contested in the north east than the Aberdeen Boat Race. The crews from both universities show incredible skill and dedication in their efforts, and I hope that students, families and the general public will line the banks of the river to enjoy what is undoubtedly Aberdeen’s hardest-fought sporting event.”

Martin Gilbert, chief executive of Aberdeen Asset Management, comments,

“What began as quite a modest event between two local universities has become one of the north east’s most popular sporting events. The rowers should be incredibly proud of their efforts, as every year the race becomes closer and harder-fought. We are delighted to continue our support of the Aberdeen Boat Race again in 2017, and we look forward to supporting the crews alongside the general public on the shores of the River Dee.”

For all the latest updates on the crews and their training, follow the Aberdeen Boat Race on Twitter @2017boatrace, Instagram @aamboatrace and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/aamboatrace

 

 

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Dec 282016
 

By Red Fin Hall.

The last home game for the Dons before the winter break, saw Hamilton make the trip north.

Having only won two games this season, one of which was a 1-0 victory when Aberdeen visited back in October, they were hoping to snatch at least a draw today.

The Dons, whose recent form has been, to say the least, erratic, fielded an team unchanged from that which beat Motherwell away from home last Friday.

Referee Andrew Dallas got the game underway on a crisp, cold but sunny day, with the underfoot playing conditions ideal.

Three minutes in, Aberdeen had their first free kick, swiftly followed by their first corner. It was from this corner that Mark Reynolds had the ball in the back of the net. But this brought about the first of many debatable decisions when he ruled that a foul had been committed and disallowed the goal.

Minutes later a sharp looking Jonnny Hayes won a second corner.

With 15 minutes gone Hamilton went looking for their first goal and a snapshot from Darian McKinnon from 25 yards out, caused Joe Lewis to do his job and divert the ball around the post for a corner.

Hayes was at it again, when he picked up a loose ball and fired it forward for Adam Rooney to chase, but it was too long for him to reach it.

Just after Kenny McLean and captain Ryan Jack had their shots blocked, a goalmouth scramble ensued when McLean, Andrew Considine and Reynolds also had shots blocked.

In 22 minutes Hamilton were scrambling about in the Aberdeen goal area, trying to make a breakthrough.

Meanwhile The Dons were winning corner after corner as they kept the pressure up on a poor Hamilton team who were getting away with foul after foul as the pace of the home team was proving too much.

After Rooney held the ball up, he found Graeme Shinnie, whose shot just went wide. Moments later the same player made Accies keeper, Gary Woods pull off a vital save.

Hayes, still causing the opposition grief, was fouled by McKinnon, who protested his innocence. Taking the free kick itself, he found the head of Ash Taylor, who had made his way forward from the centre of defence. His perfectly timed leap on the 33rd minute, directed the ball into the back of the net to give Aberdeen a well deserved lead.

1-0

Dallas was deservedly criticised when two minutes later he awarded a penalty, indicating that Lewis had brought down Danny Redmond. Dougie Imrie took the spot kick and buried into the back of the net.

1-1

The Dons, fans and players, were again decrying the referee moments later when Rooney was pushed over in the box. The referee awarded another free kick to Aberdeen when Shay Logan was brought down. Hayes again took the kick, and again he found the head of Taylor. This time the keeper saved it, resulting in another corner. 

Just before the halftime whistle blew, number seven for the visitors, Imrie received a yellow card.

Another claim for a penalty thereafter when Considine was held in the box..

The half time whistle blew and both teams went into the tunnel knowing that a draw at this point was extremely flattering to the visitors. But if the men in red had more guile and a killer touch, then the score would have been more.

Half time 1-1

No changes at half time for either side.

Aberdeen started the final 45 minutes as they finished the first 45 when McLean found Shinnie whose attempt was blocked by a resilient Lanarkshire defence.

Hayes again looked threatening after receiving a good pass from Rooney, but as seemed to be the way of things, his attempt to score should have been better.

Aberdeen took off Considine and replaced him with James Maddison.

Immediately, Lewis pulled off a fine save after a breakthrough from Rakush Bingham, whose pass set up an Ali Crawford shot on goal.

With 20 minutes left on the clock, Logan passed to Maddison whose shot was parried by the Hamilton keeper. Rooney did what Rooney does best, and cleanly put away the rebound.

2-1

On minute 90, Maddison was booked for diving – a decision that not many can argue with. This is the second game in a row that the loan player didn’t start the game, and the second comfortable victory. Will we miss him if he returns to Norwich in January?

Let’s leave that hanging there.

With 2 of the 3 stoppage time minutes gone, Hayes was yet again brought down just outside the box and a red card was shown to the perpetrator, Scott McMann.
 
Full time came soon after. 2-1

The score should have been much higher and if Aberdeen want to seriously challenge for second place, then they are going to have to find a way to get more goals against teams of this ilk. With three yellow cards and a red awarded to the visitors and more corners than I could count, they will be in a dogfight to remain safe from relegation.

Next home game. 21.01.17 Scottish Cup v Stranraer.

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Dec 162016
 

By Red Fin Hall.

Never mind the pitch taking a hammering, the pockets of the supporters will be too, with this bring the third home tie in the space of 8 days. Continuing the busy December schedule, The Dons faced Motherwell in tonight’s rearranged league match, hoping to close the gap on the pretenders to second spot, The Rangers.

A small crowd, smaller than last week, braved the grey and dreich conditions, wondering which Aberdeen team would turn up tonight. Hoping against hope it would be the same one that beat Kilmarnock a week ago.

As is his wont, Derek McInnes made a couple of changes to the starting line up from the team that started in Saturday, with Adam Rooney and Niall McGinn losing their places to Shay Logan and Jayden Stockley.

The game kicked off, and four minutes into the match, Andrew Considine was yellow carded for bringing down Scott McDonald.

Within a couple of minutes, a generator tripped, and some of the floodlights failed. After hanging around for a spell, the referee, Alan Muir, took both team off the field.

After around 14 minutes, play resumed when the problem with the electrics was resolved.

The game started again, and almost immediately a second yellow card was forthcoming. This time the Motherwell number 6, Stephen McManus found his name being entered in the referee’s book, when he brought town Peter Pawlett.

Lady Luck was not on anyone’s side tonight, when there floodlights failed again. This time the decision was made to abandon the game.

With a busy schedule in the lead up to the New Year, and then the winter break starting, and The Scottish Cup ties taking place in January, the rescheduling of the game may well be difficult to fit in.

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Dec 112016
 

The second of three consecutive league matches at Pittodrie, saw St Johnstone make the short trip up from Perth. The Dons were hoping to continue the good showing from last Tuesday, but St Johnstone, a top six club, are a tougher nut to crack. By Red Fin Hall.

With Ryan Jack back from his one game, red card suspension, the manager made the strange decision to give him a start whilst leaving the ever present Shay Logan on the bench.

Jack slotted into right back, a position he played when he first came into the team. Peter Pawlett retained his place.

Referee Kevin Clancy got the game under way in front of a relatively small crowd at Pittodrie. 3 home games in the space of three weeks, especially at this time of year, and considering the economic climate, it can only be expected.

St Johnstone aren’t a great team, and probably would not survive anywhere else other than in Scotland, but their manager, Tommy Wright, sets them up, not to play football as a beautiful game, but to only make things difficult for their opponents. This they do well, hence their continuous top six position.

Within the first two minutes the home side were awarded their first free kick, which, when taken, went off the defensive wall and out of play.

In the 7th minute a cross, if that’s what it was, from Jonny Hayes went wide. Thus was a portend of things to come as the Dons, under challenges from the visitors, kept, through a series of mis-kicks and careless calls, losing possession.

The men from Perth were awarded their first free kick in 10 minutes, the resultant clearance from Graeme Shinnie fell to Hayes, who immediately lost possession. This was going to be a long afternoon.

The midfield battle was definitely going St Johnston’s way, as they closed Aberdeen down , but the men in red seemed content to back off.

The next Aberdeen player to appear uncomfortable was Jack, when he was dispossessed on the half way line. He won the ball back, but had to play it safe, and passed it all the way back to Joe Lewis in goal.

With 29 minutes in the clock, St Johnstone’s Murray Davidson had a touch go just wide. His team were having another spell of dominance.
One minute later, the Dons had some nice interplay, but Pawlett’s shot only resulted in a corner. From the corner Andrew Considine’s strong header went over.

On receiving a long pass, ex Don Ricky Foster set off on a run, but typical of the game, he ran the ball out for an Aberdeen goal kick.

Pawlett looked back to his old tricky self

Despite not being able to make any headway against the well drilled opposition, the Dons at least, on occasion, tried to play football.

Some nice play between Shinnie and Hayes, the latter not having one of his better games, ended up with Hayes hitting the ball a too long, which fortuitously found Nial McGinn. His pass to Shinnie was turned out for a thrown in. Recipient of the throw, McLean, wasted it by tapping it out for a goal kick.

Pawlett looked back to his old tricky self, when his shot from just outside the D went wide.

St Johnstone were dragging the Dons to playing the way they wanted too, and Aberdeen didn’t have enough savvy to stop them doing this. James Maddison, despite trying to utilise his obvious skills, was too easily knocked off his stride. Sometimes winning a foul, others by just bring you lightweight.

Neither side looked like they could find a way to put the ball into their opponents’ net; St Johnstone seemingly happy to accept a point, and AFC not having enough guile to find a way through.

The referee blew for half time as the home team made a rare foray into the goal mouth, but Pawlett’s shot troubled no-one.

Half time 0-0

Two second half a subs for Aberdeen saw Jayden Stockley and Shay Logan replace Pawlett and McGinn. The team then played a 4-4-2 formation to try and win the match.
But with Hayes not up to his usual high standard, and McGinn having yet another off form game before he went off, the end result was always going to be a goal less draw.

Despite Aberdeen stepping up the pace around the hour mark, and winning several set pieces, they all followed the pattern of most of the set pieces this season.

Joe Lewis had to be really sharp and pull off a fabulous save from a Steve MacLean shot, tipping it over the bar. Barring a great strike in the 87th minute from a David Wotherspoon free kick, which came off the inside of the near post, the ball stayed out, and the final six minutes, including three minutes stoppage time, petered out.

The fans went home feeling that a draw was maybe just about right, but the home fans were disappointed that the players didn’t manage to get a lot closer to The Rangers in second place.

Final score. 0-0

Next game Tuesday 13th Dec. Home to Motherwell.

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Dec 062016
 
dons-display

Stephen McCormick quits his role as display organiser for AFC describing the club as “impossible to deal with.”

With thanks to Red Fin Hall.

In recent years, there have been various splendid displays at Aberdeen Football Club matches, most notably perhaps, at the 2014 and 2016 League Cup finals, arranged by one man, Stephen McCormick, aka Mezzanine.

The finances for undertaking this mammoth undertaking came totally out of his own pocket and from fan donations.

The last one, the stunning 20,000 red and silver flag waving display at November’s final, arguably the only positive thing about the match, cost in the region of £10,000.

AFC, like all clubs, have a Supporter’s Liason Officer (SLO). The one at Aberdeen is Ally Proctor. He is also the CEO of the Community Trust. Despite this, he has never, ever gone to any SLO roadshows, or communicated anything to help with the final display. His title just seems to an obligatory one to appease UEFA.

The so called ‘family club’ are now taking on the appearance of being anything but.

Here, in his own words, are Stephen’s reasons for his decision to discontinue putting on displays at Pittodrie.

“I spoke with a few folk involved in the display project and family and friends in the weeks leading up to the Final. Sunday’s final will be my last involvement with displays and those I spoke to fully understand why.

“The club held its AGM on Monday and a shareholder asked Milne, Yule and Fraser about those behind the display and a vote of thanks was agreed, Im not sure what that means but Milne said they had been in touch with the organisers. I can assure you now we haven’t been thanked by any of them. So he blatantly lied to a room full of shareholders.

“They had an opportunity to put some money towards the display as well but we had a deadline to meet to place the order. We had to go through the Operations department, they were meant to relay info to our chief exec to keep him up to speed as to where we were at with the funds, I received an email at 9 pm on a Saturday night from him asking where we were at despite telling Operations on a daily basis.

“They dragged their heels so we had to look elsewhere, the DST lent us £2500 which we paid back. Production of 20,000 flags takes time. I asked our chief exec if he would still like to donate something like a bus for volunteers. I never got a reply but the DST did and the club said they couldn’t do a bus as they would all be booked.

“I called Central Coaches, same firm the club use and got a bus straight away, the DST offered to pay half of that which was a lovely gesture.

“The club are impossible to deal with, they hate me that’s for sure because I stand up to them and won’t allow them to treat those giving up their spare time like dirt. How can I work with a club that contacts Ian Low at Dundee United, or the operations Manager at Inverness Caley and try and talk them into banning us from doing display at their grounds?

“When we did a foil display in the Shed at Tannadice I was taken aside and told they (DUFC) would do anything they possibly could to make sure our display was a success, which it was. DUFC and ICT both couldn’t understand why any club wouldn’t want their own fans to add as much colour to the games.

“The League Cup final at ParkRed for example the club did absolutely nothing to assist us. I had to deal with the SPFL, Celtic,and the police and all were very helpful.

“The club were quick to sell framed pictures at £70 a pop in the club shop of the display, I was never offered one.

“This display was a huge task and thankfully I had a great team to share the load, some of them will continue Im sure but after witnessing how I’m treated they will probably do future displays away from home.

“At Hampden, Motherwell, Celtic, Inverness, Ibrox, Tannadice, I have always been made welcome and always get a glowing report of how organised we were. Its just our club that make life extremely difficult to do anything and I’ve had enough.

“We also have a SLO at our club, a role given to someone in the community trust just to appease UEFA, a SLO should be someone that is known to the support and is helpful to the supporters, ours didn’t even get in touch leading up to the final, Im not even going to mention his name but another ex-cop who nobody within the support knows. Im in regular contact with SLOs at other clubs as well as Supporters direct etc and kept up to date with matters.

“It was very humbling for the support to put so much faith in me at the last 2 finals and to donate such an incredible amount was just staggering, I had several sleepless nights leading up to this game but I knew as soon as I knew the materials we would use what I was going to do. Without the supporters kindness and participation I’d never have been able to do any of them.

“Thanks also to those that helped me make it happen, you know who you are.

“Thank you all once again and good luck to those who want to try and add some colour in the future. Time to spend some time with those that are far more important than football, my amazing family.”

To say that the fans I have spoke to are annoyed at this situation is an understatement. He went on to say,

“A SLO is someone who the support have known for years, someone they have faith in. I have proved over the years that the fans have faith in me, fundraising, centenary celebrations, loads of displays, football competitions, set ups, social media. Been in touch with them for best part of 20 years.

“I also never lie to the support, that’s the one thing that winds me up about our club, I could tell you some stories like.”

Independently, another fan has set up a petition to replace the current SLO with somebody who has more interest in fulfilling his position that the title suggests.

Let’s hope that the club is taken to task over this and things change in the future.

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