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 999th goal to be scored since the SFPL 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 072017
 

With thanks to Esther Green, Senior Account Executive, Tricker PR

Four Scottish youngsters with special needs have received play equipment that will help them build their independence and get out and about in their own communities to socialise and play.
Aberdeen Asset Management granted more than £3,900 to purchase two trikes, a standing frame and a walking frame for youngsters living in the Edinburgh and Aberdeen areas.

The global financial management firm responded to an appeal from Handicapped Children’s Action Group to fund the apparatus, which is not available on the NHS, and at purchase costs averaging £1,000 per  item, is usually cost prohibitive for families to purchase.

The charity receives over 800 referrals a year from health professionals, but only has the funding to help around 180-190 of these cases.

The charity  would love to be able to help every single applicant but with no government funding the charity is dependent on fundraising and the support of organisations like Aberdeen Asset Management to help it provide the much-needed equipment.

Carole Davies from Handicapped Children’s Action Group said:

“A trike gives independence and mobility to a child who has had to rely on an adult for every movement; a walking frame gives a child the ability to get up and walk freely without assistance while a buggy enables a family to take their child into the community without fear of safety issues. Play frames enable a child with autism to play safely and explore in a controlled environment.

“All equipment brings fun, movement, mobility and integration to children all over the country and without the help of people like Aberdeen Asset Management we would be unable to achieve this.”

More than £3,900 was spent on the purchase of two trikes, a standing frame and a walking frame for three children in Edinburgh and one in Aberdeen.

Handicapped Children’s Action Group is a registered charity based in Lincolnshire which assists children and families across the UK. When it started in 1988 it helped about a dozen families a year, but now it helps well over 100 with the purchase of equipment varying in price from £500 to £2,500 per item. Requests come from physiotherapists who recommend that the equipment will help the youngster with day to day living. All the items funded by Aberdeen Asset Management were delivered to families just in time for Christmas.

Euan MacNeish of Aberdeen Asset Management’s Edinburgh charity committee said:

“Equipment provided by Handicapped Children’s Action Group will help give children with special needs the independence and mobility they deserve. Through the support of Aberdeen’s Charitable Committee we hope we are able to give these  children the ability to join in with the activities of children their own age and no longer watch from the side-lines. We are proud to support the local communities in which we operate in this way.”

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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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Feb 022017
 

With thanks to Ross Anderson, Senior Account Manager, Citrus:Mix

Aberdeen city centre has been hailed as a shining example to the rest of the country after securing the prestigious Purple Flag accreditation for the fourth year in a row.

Led by business organisation Aberdeen Inspired, with support from Aberdeen City Council, Police Scotland, Unight, Street Pastors and other key stakeholders, the city has achieved the coveted standard in recognition of its commitment to promoting a safe and secure night time economy.

Aberdeen became the first city in Scotland to be awarded the accreditation in 2014 and has now been re-accredited for the fourth time, receiving praise for its strong partnership working alongside its lively mix of evening entertainment.

Adrian Watson, chief executive of Aberdeen Inspired, welcomed the award and praised the ongoing work which goes into making this continued success possible.

He said:

“Securing the Purple Flag award for a fourth year is a great achievement and the result of a concerted effort by a number of organisations working in partnership to enhance Aberdeen city centre’s offering over a number of years.

“The assessors remarked that Aberdeen is a shining example to other cities across the country for all of the work that goes in to improving the city centre, which a fantastic acknowledgement of what has been achieved so far.

“We have developed strong relationships with our many partners over the years and this success is testament to the hard work that goes on, often behind the scenes, to create a better city for residents and visitors.

“The city’s night time economy has an integral part to play in helping us meet our goal of increasing footfall within the city centre and a safe and enjoyable environment is key to this continued success.

“If the city centre is to truly thrive, then fundamentally it must be seen to be safe. It is for all the partners to ensure that we continue to sustain this partnership approach, even through these challenging financial times.”   

The Purple Flag scheme is a town and centre award managed by the Association of Town and City Management (ATCM) which looks at the wellbeing, movement, appeal and sense of place within a city centre.

Cities are rewarded for their ability to showcase a variety of initiatives aimed at attracting visitors to the area during the evening.

This year’s application was strengthened by a number of projects aimed at fostering a sense of pride within the city, with Aberdeen Inspired’s Summer of Art, the Painted Doors project and the Aberdeen Comedy Festival, Police Scotland’s Operation Oak campaign and the successful Aberdeen Christmas Village all playing a part.

Aberdeen City Council Leader Councillor Jenny Laing, said:

“Receiving Purple Flag accreditation for the fourth year is a testament to the strong partnership work undertaken by the Community Safety Partnership, Aberdeen Inspired, Police Scotland and number of other agencies.

“Aberdeen City Council works closely with a range of partners to deliver initiatives such as Unight, Best Bar None and the taxi marshals which play a huge role in creating a safe and welcoming night time experience.

“I would like to thank all involved for their hard work in making Aberdeen an even safer place to live and visit.”

Area Commander Chief Inspector Graeme Mackie, said:

“Police Scotland is delighted that Aberdeen has once again been awarded the Purple Flag for excellence in managing the night-time economy – an accolade that is testament to the well-embedded partnership working that exists to ensure your city-centre is safe.

“Our officers also work hard to make sure that the city is a safe and welcoming place live, work and visit and we continue to record reductions in crime figures year-on-year.

“A great deal of progress has been made throughout the years thanks to the willingness of organisations to work together, and initiatives like Operation Oak and the Best Bar None awards play a huge part in creating this safer and more enjoyable environment.

“Every city-centre comes with its own unique challenges, so we take great pride in achieving this recognition for a fourth consecutive year and maintaining our position as one of the UK’s safest city centres.

“We look forward to continuing this work alongside our partner agencies to support the great progress that has already been made.”

Stuart McPhee, general manager of Siberia Vodka Bar and chairman of Unight Aberdeen, said:

“Unight are delighted to be a partner involved in working towards and achieving Purple Flag accreditation for the fourth consecutive year.

“Through all the partnership working that goes into achieving this we have created a safe and welcoming environment throughout our city centre.

“All of our venues work tirelessly to ensure they are the safest they can be, so to know that this is a small part in achieving this award is a great satisfaction to our members.”

Graham Watson, Owner of the Grill Bar, said:

“It is thoroughly well deserved and I am delighted that Aberdeen inspired and partners have achieved this recognition for their hard work over the piece.

“Over the past several years, the city centre seems to be a much safer place and that makes it more appealing for people to visit.

“The city centre needs to see this type of nationally leading thinking and we are delighted to support the continued progress.”

Aberdeen Inspired is the banner under which the Aberdeen BID (Business Improvement District) operates.

It is a business-led initiative within the city centre in which levy payers within the BID zone contribute. Proceeds are used to fund projects designed to improve the business district and drive footfall to the zone.

More information about Aberdeen Inspired is available online at: www.aberdeeninspired.com

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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 272017
 

With thanks to Esther Green, Senior Account Executive, Tricker PR.

Megan Davies of Maggie’s Centre in Aberdeen welcomes a four-figure donation from Aberdeen Asset Management.

A cancer support centre has received a four figure sum from Aberdeen Asset Management – at a time when an increasing number of people whose lives are affected by cancer are turning to it for help and support.
Since its launch in 2014, Maggie’s Centre in Aberdeen has provided a warm and welcoming space for people with cancer and their families to drop in with around 40 visitors a day walking through its doors to make use of its support services.

More and more people are using the centre’s facilities to help them cope with the challenges they face and last year the total number of visitors rose to 9,149, up by 16% on the previous year.

This figure is forecast to increase again in 2017, demonstrating the continued and growing need for the services it offers.

From the newly diagnosed seeking answers about their treatment plan or lifestyle changes they have to make, to those in remission and struggling with the physical and emotional after effects of cancer, or the bereaved looking for social support and people who understand what they are going through, the centre is there for everyone affected by cancer, at any stage of their journey.

It offers a unique programme of information, practical and emotional support to people affected by cancer through services like psychological counselling, nutrition workshops, advice around benefits and finances, exercise classes, creative writing workshops and networking and support groups.

While every day is different one thing remains the same – the positive impact that Maggie’s Centre has on the lives of those who call in to access support. The centre relies on fundraising and donations like the one given by Aberdeen Asset Management’s Charitable Foundation, to be able to provide a welcome refuge and supportive environment for people who are living with cancer.

Maggie’s Centre fundraising organiser Megan Davies said:

“The generous gift we have received from the Aberdeen Asset Management Charitable Foundation will go towards the running costs of the centre.

“This will make a meaningful, lasting impact upon the lives of people from across Aberdeen who visit their local Maggie’s Centre. This could be a visitor coming into Maggie’s for the first time and having a chat with a cancer support specialist, a visitor having an appointment with our benefits advisor, attending a workshop or popping in for a cup of tea. Every day we provide a wide range of support that directly benefits people with cancer and their friends and family.”

One visitor summed up the benefit of being able to freely call in to Maggie’s Centre, commenting:

“The help and support I gained last week when I dropped into the centre on a very low day, for me, was so valuable. The staff made me feel welcome and normal and helped me to work through some feelings that had surfaced out of the blue.”   

Dominic Kite, representing Aberdeen Asset Management Charities Committee in Aberdeen said:

“Maggie’s Centre is there for everyone affected by cancer, at any stage of their journey. People with cancer and their families and friends can engage with various aspects of its programme and choose from a variety of elements to meet their emotional and practical needs.”

Maggie’s Centre is based near Aberdeen Royal Infirmary but receives no NHS funding. It has professional staff on hand to offer free, practical, emotional and social support of people need – practical advice about benefits and eating well; a place where qualified experts provide emotional support, somewhere to meet other people; a place to simply sit back and enjoy a cup of tea. The Aberdeen centre is one of 19 centres at major NHS cancer hospitals in the UK.

Aberdeen Asset’s Charitable Foundation seeks partnerships with charities around the world, where funds can be seen to have a meaningful and measurable impact and the firm encourages its employees to use their time and skills to support its charitable projects.

The main focus of the Foundation is around emerging markets and local communities, reflecting the desire to give back to those areas which are a key strategic focus of the business and to build on the historic pattern of giving to communities in which Aberdeen employees live and work. For more information visit http://www.aberdeen-asset.co.uk/aam.nsf/foundation/home

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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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Jan 192017
 

Eileen Wheeler of Sunrise Partnership

With thanks to Esther Green, Senior Account Executive, Tricker PR.

A charity that helps children come to terms with the loss of a loved one has been delivered a ray of hope from global investment management group, Aberdeen Asset Management.

Sunrise Partnership will be able to provide almost 60 specialist sessions for children and young people up to the age of 18 living in Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire whose lives have been affected by loss and bereavement, after receiving a four-figure donation from Aberdeen Asset Management.

The sessions allow youngsters to learn coping strategies tailored to them that help prepare them for the future.

The free and confidential support continues for as long as is needed, with referrals coming from schools, health and social work departments, third sector organisations and self-referrals too.

For younger children, using tools like puppets, books, arts and crafts and worksheets can be helpful in breaking down barriers to make easier for them to express feelings and emotions. There’s no limit to the amount of support provided and it’s not unusual for children to revisit them months or even a couple of years later as they get older and may have a different understanding of their grief.

Eileen Wheeler, manager of Sunrise Partnership, explained that loss is not always a bereavement; support is also provided for children in kinship whose natural parents may not be able to care for them.

Eileen said:

“Every case is treated individually and sessions are tailor made for the child. There is no complicated referral process or forms to fill in. We are just a telephone call or an email away from anyone who may need us.”

The bulk of the charity’s work has been in Aberdeen City, but it has also supported children in Peterhead, Aboyne, Banchory, Inverurie, Kemnay and Kintore, travelling to children and families to ensure services are accessible to all.

The charity has been providing its specialist one-to-one, sibling, family or group sessions in City and Shire since its formation  in 2014, and last year received 52 new referrals.

Dominic Kite of Aberdeen Asset Management’s Aberdeen charity committee said:

“Sunrise Partnership seeks to provide the best possible support for children and young people through its specialist sessions, allowing them to achieve their true potential despite a significant loss or bereavement in their lives. To be able to help such an inspirational charity, and young people, in the city where our company was founded is very important to us.”

Sunrise Partnership can be contacted on  07827 755735 or by emailing: support@sunrisepartnership.org

Aberdeen Asset’s Charitable Foundation seeks partnerships with smaller charities around the world, where funds can be seen to have a meaningful and measurable impact and the firm encourages its employees to use their time and skills to support its charitable projects.

The main focus of the Foundation is around emerging markets and local communities, reflecting the desire to give back to those areas which are a key strategic focus of the business and to build on the historic pattern of giving to communities in which Aberdeen employees live and work.

For more information visit http://www.aberdeen-asset.co.uk/aam.nsf/foundation/home

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Jan 132017
 

With thanks to Jessica Murphy, Senior Account Executive, Citrus:Mix.

The local business community has expressed its support for the Aberdeen Christmas Village, which helped boost trade during the festive period.

Spearheaded by Aberdeen Inspired in partnership with Aberdeen City Council and Codona’s, hundreds of thousands of people visited the winter wonderland over the five weeks it was open.

Organisers have received positive feedback from visitors, artists, craftsmen/women as well as local business owners, who commented on increased footfall through their doors and a rise in sales.

Adrian Watson, chief executive of Aberdeen Inspired, said:

“The Aberdeen Christmas Village is exactly the type of event which is needed to drive increased footfall and dwell time in the city centre. It was our ambition, along with our partner organisations, to build on the success of last year and create an even larger festive event.

“It was brilliant to see the public get into the Christmas spirit and enjoy everything the Village had to offer. We have also been pleased with the response from the businesses in the city centre, a number of which have been in touch with us to comment on the positive difference they noticed throughout the festive period in terms of increased footfall. It was a key aim of ours to achieve a knock-on effect for local businesses, which further emphasises the tremendous benefits of big events like this in Aberdeen.”

Julie Haig, owner of Haigs Food Hall, Schoolhill, said:

“We were delighted with the footfall the Christmas Village brought to Aberdeen city centre and our business. It created a real buzz in the city and it was great to see so many people out and about enjoying the Christmas Village.

“We are looking forward to seeing it back again this year and would like to give a huge thank you to Aberdeen Inspired and Aberdeen City Council for all of their hard work making this event happen.”

Aberdeen City Council leader Councillor Jenny Laing said:

“The Aberdeen Christmas Village has once again been a tremendous success and we are delighted to have worked with our partners to provide what has become a mainstay of the city’s events calendar.

“Running alongside the village, Aberdeen City Council also brought the Christmas Tree Maze to Union Terrace Gardens and the response from the public was fantastic.

“By coming out and supporting these attractions in numbers, people have demonstrated they will support bright, engaging and innovative events and that provides great confidence as we seek to build on the foundations we already have in place.

“We are planning for a bigger, better and busier programme of events for 2017 than we have ever had before in Aberdeen. There are a number of major dates in the diary already and more to follow.

“Aberdeen City Council is looking forward to working with our many partners in the year ahead, investing in events and facilities, as the city’s role as a cultural hub and tourist destination continues to grow.”

Mr Watson added:

“This year we were also happy to offer stalls to up to 30 hugely talented local artists and designers to give them a platform to sell their products. It was fantastic to see their presence being enjoyed by the public.

“We would like to thank everyone who visited and enjoyed the Village, the stallholders and our staff and partners for all their hard work. Our talented team will continue to work hard to bring projects to fruition that will enhance the city centre and drive footfall. We are always looking to build on our successes and in doing so we take on board all constructive feedback. We are very excited about our current plans, which include the globally renowned Nuart street art festival in the spring.”

Aberdeen Inspired is the banner under which the Aberdeen BID (Business Improvement District) operates. It is a business-led initiative within the city centre in which levy payers within the BID zone contribute. Proceeds are used to fund projects designed to improve the business district and driving footfall to the zone.

More information on the work of Aberdeen Inspired is available at www.aberdeeninspired.com

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