Dec 032012

I know I should perhaps show more empathy towards my injury-stricken Dons, but I felt at times they were hopeless if not gutless, reports Andrew Watson, from snowy Pittodrie.

The laughs came thick and fast, and often they were at the expense of my own team. What can I say? I wasn’t brought up on a diet of Scottish Cup and League Cup victories, let alone title wins and raids on European football’s superpowers.

You could say I revel in mediocrity, if not utter shambles. Sometimes I actually find it funny.

Although the teams I can just about remember from the mid to late 90s were awful, they were full of hatchet men and gap-toothed tough guys who gave their all. Remember firebrand ginger Kiriakov spitting at the opposition, mad Deano and ‘old head’ Leighton? Only the likes of Jess and the late Zerouali ever provided a more cultured side to our game.

I fear that perhaps it’s gone too far the other way, now – passing the ball around on the edge of the box, pretending to be Arsenal, and a lot of smart footwork with little end product. Hardly anyone has the audacity to shoot from distance anymore, not even from just outside the box.

I was therefore more than pleased to rise to my feet early on in anticipation of lightning striking via a Hayes shot from far out. He’s good at his footwork, too. The ‘keeper was lucky!

As said, sometimes comedy was the only respite from an otherwise drab game, a damp squib, or rather a frozen one, until referee Willie Collum drew burning anger from fans. To those familiar with Collum’s reputation at Pittodrie, this didn’t take very long at all. His tendency to award soft fouls – often in favour of the opposition – and be card-happy is well known to most there.

You’ll understand why, then, a member of the honourable Lanarkshire press sitting beside me could barely contain himself. He looked on in wonder as a man spreading mirth and all-round festive cheer declared, ‘ET phone home’, but I couldn’t possibly comment on a match official’s personal appearance.

Tom Hateley, son of Rangers’ legend Mark, was getting a torrid time from the home support, too. Once again, de-tractors in red were ploughing (ha!) his downfall, but it had little do with his supposed lineage to a certain Germanic emperor of days gone by, forename Attila. This time it was donkey noises.

More than once he struck a crap corner, barely lifting them off the ground, let alone into the box.

Ironically, it was Jamie ‘Clangers’ Langfield who set the example of how his teammates should have been playing

The recurringly-disappointing Fallon, a far cry from the man who scored that volley against Hibs in the same competition last year, even fell on his arse mid-tackle. I laughed out of exasperation because this was typical of the fare being played out before me. Too often, players got in each other’s way, both at the back or in attack, and clashed.

Ironically, it was Jamie ‘Clangers’ Langfield who set the example of how his teammates should have been playing. He was head and shoulders above the rest, pulling off last-ditch miraculous saves. If he kept Aberdeen in the game at Easter Road last week, he certainly did the same here.

Half-time, and it was a goalless stalemate.

The only remarkable thing about the second half was the Motherwell goal. Pulling in from the wing, the Steelman cracked a 20-yard bolt towards the top right-hand corner. Unfortunately, the effort was beyond even the heroics of Langfield.

0-1 (Murphy) after 80 minutes.

Dead in the water; out of both cups. Well, we’re not going to win the League, are we?

Now here’s where it gets interesting.

Cue palpable relief ten minutes later when Aberdeen did something rather alien to themselves – the unexpected.  In two instances. Father-figure Anderson, defensive stalwart, was replaced by Cammy Smith after 88 minutes. Maybe the impetus for…..

…with barely a minute on the clock, Considine crossed the ball into Motherwell’s box with Niall McGinn rising to the occasion.

1-1 after 90 minutes!

Game over, thankfully. I couldn’t have been done with extra time. A replay it is, then.

It was an encounter similar, at least in outcome, to the 3-3 draw secured against the Fir Park side earlier in the season, when Magennis scored at the death.

How will this struggling team cope with a midweek game away from home, especially if injuries leave us with another makeshift side?  Hopefully progress delayed will be time made in re-instating some currently crocked players.

Final score:  1-1.