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



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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.


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.


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.


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

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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Nov 172016

With thanks to Gemma Setter, PR Account Executive, Frasermedia.


Members of The Aberdeen Lynx Ice Hockey Club with Andrew Maxwell, regional manager for Petrolink UK & Europe.

Aberdeen’s premier ice hockey team is celebrating after securing a primary sponsor just in time for its 2016/17 season in the Scottish National League (SNL).

The Aberdeen Lynx Ice Hockey Club, which is the second most supported sports team in the city after Aberdeen Football Club, has signed a one-year sponsorship deal with data solutions company, Petrolink Services.

The new sponsorship deal comes as a real boost to The Lynx, after it lost its previous main sponsor due to the downturn in oil and gas.

As a not-for-profit organisation, the club relies solely on donations, ticket sales and sponsorship from local businesses.

All money invested is generated straight back into The Lynx, which will help to keep costs down for junior players, fund new equipment and kit, and enable the SNL team to travel and play in games across Scotland and Northern Ireland.

The sponsorship also enables the club to continue focusing on the development of its youth teams. The Lynx provide first-class coaching and facilities to its junior teams, which cater for children from ages 12 and up, and its Mini Lynx Learn to Play programme, in a bid to encourage youngsters in the North-east to take up ice hockey.

Martin Hill, chair of The Aberdeen Lynx, said:

“The Lynx are absolutely thrilled to have secured a new sponsorship deal with Petrolink. We understand that many businesses in the North-east are struggling in the current climate, so we’re very appreciative of all their support.

“Thanks to Petrolink’s backing, we’re able to focus heavily on the development of young people in the area, as well as providing top-quality training to our SNL team. A large proportion of the money secured through sponsorship is reserved exclusively for our junior teams and allows us to educate and train them to the highest standard.”

Andrew Maxwell, regional manager for Petrolink UK & Europe, said:

“Petrolink are pleased to sponsor the Aberdeen Lynx, a winning SNL hockey team with strong community ties and a commitment to child development programmes .A number of my colleagues are interested in ice hockey and we’re keen to promote the benefits of sport to young people, so it made perfect sense to sponsor The Lynx.

“We’re fortunate enough to be in the position to be able to sponsor the club and we’re very proud to be associated with a winning team. It’s great that we’re able to give something back to a local organisation that focuses so strongly on developing young talent.”

For the second year in a row, the club has frozen its ticket prices for the 2016/17 season. Single tickets are priced at £7 for adults, £5 for kids and season tickets are also available at £70 for adults and £50 for kids.

The Aberdeen Lynx will face Kilmarnock Storm at 7.15pm on Saturday 10 December at the Linx Ice Arena.

For more information about the Aberdeen Lynx search Aberdeen Lynx Ice Hockey Team on Facebook, visit the website, or email

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Oct 162016

afc1finhallBy Red Fin Hall.

With the unnecessary distraction of the current joke that is international football, out of the way, it is the return of the real thing: League Football, and the visit of Ross County.

Since today was also National Grumpy Day, the fans were hoping that there would be little celebrating of that kind today.

The rain soaked pitch looked ideal for playing good football with the chance of sliding tackles after fifty yard runs. Oh, if only they were still allowed.

After both  teams took part in the Show Racism The Card display, if  that is the correct word for 22 players holding up a red card with those words written on it, referee Craig Thomson got the game underway.

Derek McCinnes played his strongest team, with Ryan Jack being the only player missing through injury.
Adam Rooney started as the sole striker; this week he was quoted as saying that the pressure for him to score is off due to the goals being  scored from all other positions in the team.

The game was only 7 minutes old when Aberdeen defender, Ash Taylor, had to be taken off due to an injury. His more than capable replacement was Mark Reynolds.

With 13 minute gone, a free kick taken by James Maddison found Rooney at the back post, whose header went into the goal. The celebrations were cut short due to the attacker being flagged offside. 2 minutes later another free kick from The Dons kept the pressure up.

In 17 minutes a corner from Niall McGinn was knocked just over the bar by  Maddison.

MgGinn was busy shortly afterwards, putting in a great cross from the right side of the pitch, only to see Rooney heading the ball just over.
In the 20th minute the inevitable happened. Jonny Hayes picked the ball up on the left, drove into the box and hammered the bell into the net. It may have taken a slight deflection, but it made no difference.


The action continued when Ross County defender, Tim Chow, starting his first game since he moved to the Black Isle, was given a straight red card for a two footed tackle on Hayes. There was little protest from the ex Wigan player.
Hayes was proving too much from the men from Dingwall. Running in from the right, he put in a good ball. The recipient, Andrew Considine, made good contact, but it was cut out by ex-Don, Paul Quinn.

In the 28th minute, a Maddison corner from the left found Rooney, whose downward header, although on target, was stopped on the line by keeper Scott Fox. This was the first many times he was called into action from a very busy Aberdeen side.
On the half hour mark there was another fine ball into the area from McGinn, this time Graham Shinnie was on hand to head it over.

Hayes hit the cross bar in the 41st minute from another free kick. This time from just outside the box on the right side.
The home fans were fair enjoying this game as every player in red was getting to the ball first, supporting each other and fighting to get possession. This became relevant when some nice interplay between Considine, Hayes and Maddison, resulted in the ever willing Shay Logan being on hand to get the final touch on 32 minutes to score goal number 2 of the afternoon.


Hayes again was busy, when he tried another shot at goal, this time from the right, but it was weak and went well past the post. Then a few monetary after that Rooney headed another ball straight into the hand is Fox. Hayes then saw another effort hit the crossbar in the 41st minute.

Just on the 44th minute, Aberdeen keeper, Joe Lewis pulled off a crucial, but non too difficult save in response to County’s first real effort on goal.
The visitors were on a slight roll as half-time beckoned the visiting team were awarded their first corner which came to nought, and, just as the whistle blew for half time, they hit the crossbar from a shot from about 25 yards out.

Half-time 2-0.

The second half continued in the same vein as the first 45, with a free kick awarded to The Dons in the 9th minute, but it was easily dealt with. Kenny McKean was involved in the next move of note, when he passed to Logan who beat his man then forced Fox to make another save. Relentless is the only word to describe the onslaught on the Ross County defence.

14 minutes into the second half, The Dons had another shot on target as the ebullient Irishman, Hayes crossed the ball to Considine who only had the keeper to thank (sic) for pulling off another save to stop him getting a third goal for the home team. Maddison then took another free kick, which troubled nobody as the ball went well wide.

The Highlanders then were awarded their second corner of the game; a move which ended with Aberdeen breaking upfield and the keeper picking the ball up from the feet of Rooney who was desperate to get on the score sheet.

Next came a dipping shot from the eventual man of the match, Logan, but it went just over the top of the goal.

The constant pressure continued and even a slip from Anthony O’Connor, when surrounded by County players, came to nothing but the home side moving back into the opposition half. Minutes later Maddison received a yellow card.

The fans were desperately waiting for the third goal to come, and in he 26th minute of the half, the waiting was over. Logan performed a great run downfield, put the ball into the box and McGinn was on hand to get the Don’s’ third goal, and his well deserved first.


In the 27th and 28th minutes of the game Hayes was at it again, first shooting straight at their keeper, then putting the goalie to work again saving another goalbound shot.

With 16 minutes left to play, Derek McInnes decided it was time to make a substitute, or, as he has been in the habit of doing this season, bringing on two. Rooney made way for Jayden Stockley, whilst McGinn was replaced by Peter Pawlett. The effect was seen immediately as Stockley’s first touch was to get on the end of a ball from a corner kick. He was unfortunate to see it go just over the crossbar.

Persistent play from the tall Englishman paid off when he made it 4-0 in the 36th minute.

It has been a long time since I have seen such a one sided game in The Dons’ favour at Pittodrie, and it showed no sign of letting up as Hayes led the way in causing the opposition problems. The pace and trickery of the game was not, as often happens, altering the flow of the game at all. As was evident three minutes after he scored, Stockley headed another ball towards the goalie.

There was still time for Hayes to have another go, this one going well over, and Maddison having one held by the hard pressed keeper.

Just as Craig Thomson blew the final whistle, Considine directed a cracking cross right across the front of the goal.

Final score; 4-0

Aberdeen travel south to Hampden next Saturday for the League Cup semi-final against Greenock Morton, who, themselves had a good win today, beating Queen of the South 5-0.

Footnote. Due to typically bad and thoughtless planning by the SFA, Aberdeen Ladies play Celtic Ladies in the under 17’s Scottish Cup final next Saturday at more or less the same time as the aforementioned league cup semi. Their match will take place at Lesser Hampden.

Sep 262016

It was back to league business today as Glasgow club, The Rangers, travelled north for their first game in the Granite City. By Red Fin Hall.

merkland-crowdfinhallThe one o’clock kick off didn’t stop a sell out, with queues forming early. There was a high police presence and a media encouraged frenzy of panic.

This exaggerated situation compounded itself when everybody was searched before being allowed through the turnstiles.

When I say everybody I mean everybody. OAP’s, kids, people with learning difficulties.

Over the top.

Aberdeen made three changes to their starting line up with Jonny Hayes, Peter Pawlett and Mark Reynolds replacing James Maddison, Jayden Stockley and Ash Taylor.

Referee John Beaton started the game on a sunny day where everything was pitch perfect, including the fans as they sang along to The Northern Lights.

The Rangers earned their first corner with just two minutes gone, which keeper Joe Lewis dealt with very comfortably. Aberdeen got their first a moment later.

The home team were allowing the visitors too much possession culminating in an incident between Anthony O’Connor and Joe Garner in the eleventh minute.

As anticipated, the home fans started the minutes applause in a humorous celebration of the demise in 2012 of the company formerly known as Glasgow Rangers FC. The authorities expected this to be a flashpoint, but obviously, it passed without incident. Apart from an attacking run forward by Peter Pawlett, which ran out of steam.

The Rangers were knocking the ball about better and in 17 minutes they headed over Lewis’ goal. Pawlett then won a free kick, but it too came to nothing. The game followed a similar pattern to Thursday’s cup quarter final, with the Dons not anticipating where their teammates were putting the ball.

The first booking came in in 21 minutes when the aforementioned number 7, Garner was the recipient. The Glasgow team were awarded another free kick, this time just in front of the Aberdeen goal at the Richard Donald Stand, but Lewis wasn’t troubled by it, although a moment later he made a top class save which he deflected on to the crossbar.

The home fans were getting restless, the referee didn’t help as he kept stopping the game for seemingly nothing. And Aberdeen carried on not using the wings enough, not closing down and not utilising the spaces. The first real shot from Aberdeen was on 30 minutes when Kenny McLean was tipped over the bar.
The players were arguing with each other as passes kept going awry.

Next, a neat ball was played in from the wing by Graeme Shinnie, but neither Adam Rooney nor Pawlett got to it.

As the first half was drawing to a close, Hayes was tackled from behind by Halliday, but mysteriously the referee gave the decision the other way. The first half finished when Niall McGinn played a ball in which was easily held by the keeper.

Half time 0-0.

How would the second half fare? Would the Dons keep making a poor opposition look good, or would they step up to the plate and give the capacity crowd something to rouse them from their slumbers?

As the players returned to the pitch, Maddison replaced Pawlett, who had put in a good shift.

From the restart the Dons were upfield, but then the ball came back to Lewis who cleared it forward; Rooney headed it on to Hayes who raced onwards and shot the ball into the net past Wes Foderingham.


A minute later there was a second booking for The Rangers after a cynical foul on Hayes, and from the resultant free kick, 19 year old Maddison
shot just past the goal.

The second half was livening up, with Reynolds the next to be booked, then Lee Wallace for the visitors shooting well over the bar, and then Maddison doing the same at the other end.

The Dons’ defence looked strong dealing with everything that The Rangers tried, although if truth be told, it wasn’t that much.

The ref continued his erratic performance by booking O’Connor in the 64th minute and then not booking Halliday when Hayes was chopped down yet again.
Aberdeen were showing a lot more positivity, but still allowing The Rangers too much space in midfield. Shay Logan was fouled close to the corner flag, and the free kick, taken again by young Maddison, was cleared for a corner. Another poor set piece.

More substitutions followed with Wes Burns coming on for McGinn. Kenny Miller also came on for the visitors.

On the latter’s first foray forward, his pass to Lee Wallace saw Jonny Hayes caught out of position and bringing down The Rangers number 5 to give away a penalty. Andy Halliday scored from the spot kick.


The action continued with McLean being booked and Burns being brought down in the Glasgow Team’s penalty box, but Beaton waved played on.

In the 90th minute Hayes was brought down, yet again, this time by Andy Tavernier. This time the young player on loan from Norwich City made no mistake when taking the free kick as he powered the ball well past Wes Foderingham and into the net to claim victory for Aberdeen.


Taylor was then brought on to bolster the defence moments before the final whistle was blown leaving the home fans deliriously happy. Although the game and atmosphere wasn’t the blood and thunder affair as most had anticipated, the victory meant the end of a tough run for Aberdeen.

3 games, 3 victories, two of which came in 90 minutes, resulting in the end of a great week for Aberdeen, who have now climbed back up to second place in the league.

Footnote: A special extended print edition of The Red Final, brought out for today’s game, was all but sold out by the sellers around the ground.

Sep 092016

Aberdeen FC Ladies have three senior teams: Aberdeen FC Ladies (premier team), Aberdeen FCL Reserves and Aberdeen FCL. Can a 26 year-old man possibly serve as a successful head coach for this organisation? After a conversation with Head Coach Stefan Laird, Suzanne Kelly is absolutely convinced he’ll be taking the AFC Ladies to the top.

stefan-laird-megan-reidStefan and I meet for a coffee.

Stefan’s amazingly self-possessed, confident, convinced and balanced; he comes across as someone who’s had decades of experience dealing with the media – and he’s not even 30.

By the time we’re done speaking, an hour has passed, and I know he’s still got more to say.

I conclude he wants to make Aberdeen FC the most desirable club to play for because the club will think about your future on and off the pitch.

It’s a long-term strategy but he’s convinced me he and his ideas will help the women, the club, and ultimately the game. I am genuinely impressed.

The interview flies past; I’m riveted, and he’s far from finished explaining his theories and recounting incidents. Here are a few selections of his thoughts on some of the topics we covered.

On his footballing past:

I was at Rangers youth academy. I left at 16 and signed full time professional for Blackpool. On my debut, after 20 minutes I tore my cruciate ligament and that was the start of a series of unfortunate injures. I came back to rangers after my 2 ½ years and after 3 months did my knee and that was me finished.

On how he became the Head Coach of Aberdeen FC Ladies:

The coaching began during my first rehab at Blackpool. They put me through the first of my English coaching badges. I can remember clear as day now standing in the manager’s office and telling him it was a waste of time, I would never use them, I didn’t like it; I wasn’t good at it. It was Colin Hendry, the ex-Scotland captain who was managing them; he and Gary Parkinson put me through it under the FA’s tutorship.

They took me all the way through my B license and then when I came back, used it briefly at the Blackpool centre of excellence – but I was still fully cantered on the football and when I came back to Aberdeen I thought ‘I can’t play anymore; might as well use it’.

To be honest, for about a year I fell out of love with football completely. I had the attitude of ‘why has this happened to me?’

I made all the sacrifices – didn’t drink a drop of alcohol until I was 20; went home early; never had a new year’s out with my friends, never did all the standard stuff.

‘Why has this happened to me?’ I thought when I saw people playing who I didn’t think were as good as I was I was in the stand watching them– effectively wearing my shirt. To a certain extent I still struggle with it.

On disability coaching experiences:

To be perfectly honest when I went there [disability coaching] on my first night I thought ‘what is this going to be like?’ I had no idea what the standard was going to be. There’s a whole range of disabilities. You can have people in the class with six different disabilities some mental, some physical. I left that training session that night and on every night I’ve taken them on top of the world.

It’s a feeling I’d never experienced before. I make a difference in people’s lives by going out coaching kids in less advantaged areas. Giving them things, opportunities and access to players and people they never thought they’d meet. But leaving a disability session at night, you genuinely come away feeling great because the kids are there because they are in love football. And there’s a lot of coaches that don’t want to deal with that side of things and don’t want to coach that level of foot ball – and acknowledge it. They’re afraid. They don’t want to deal. And on the other side there’s no fear.

Special abilities is the right word because I do think they have special abilities. If people who are more mentally advantaged and more able bodied attacked life with the same attitude as these people I coach– well, we’d have a better world – and as individuals would be a hell of a lot more successful. If everyone attacked obstacles in their daily life like these people do – it reminds me that we don’t really have anything to worry about.

Everybody’s selfish. No matter what you say out here, when you go home at night the majority of people are just concerned about one person – themselves. You can go and help other people – but I will never lose that feeling if I’m honest of ‘why me?’

I see the disabled players – and it all pales into insignificance. I’m still going home after a session, jumping into my nice car, and going home to my nice house where I can have a moan about my own life –which football has got me as well – and when you re’ in that room with them – nothing else in the world matters. You’re involved in the game and the enjoyment of that game.

When you’re in that room with them, the game is all that matters.

It doesn’t matter if you’ve got one leg, one arm, three eyes, a ten million pound house. It doesn’t matter what colour/religion you are – you’re entrenched in the sport and everyone is there to enjoy the sport, to get out of it what they can.

On lessons to be learned from sport:

I would go to training at night and have two Swedish boys on my team. A guy from Turkey. A boy from Estonia. Four English guys. The two Turkish boys did not speak a word of English but you didn’t have a problem communicating with them. I probably still can’t explain it – you could just understand each other through the game.

You see it just now in the Olympics – not just football – sport can do things that I just don’t think people fully understand and I don’t think it’s utilised enough. You learn lessons for your life from Sport. You can pretty much teach every principle there is in a dressing room and take it into an office and into the street. We’re trying to win games, but we’re trying to create a certain kind of person at the same time.

On working with people with addiction issues:

People say to me ‘you don’t understand what it’s like to be a drug addict’ and I’ll say ‘well, I’ll never understand the pain hopefully’ – but I do understand they are addicted to something, because I’m addicted to the dressing room atmosphere. Now that’s a completely different thing from football. And this is probably what I craved more than anything.

I spent probably about 75% of my day laughing when I was a footballer because you’re in the comaraderie of a group, a team.

I’m no longer able to play. I sometimes think the younger kids are spoilt. They’ll get released. They’ll be sat down at 12 years old and be told they’re not good enough.

I still believe in my own experiences when I’m sitting on my death bed I won’t remember beating Celtic or getting into the Blackpool team. What I’ll remember most though is the guys who were sitting next to me. The camaraderie, the slagging each other off – that’s what I’m addicted to. So football players – people don’t know this – Paul Gascoigne – people like him are used to having that every day and then suddenly one day you’re on your own.

It becomes very isolated. You’ve been living life on a high – same as a drug addict – then bang – nobody cares about you any more. The guys that surrounded you are no longer there – you’ve gone from being in a family to being on your own effectively.

Laird on team spirit:

So I try to say to the players ‘listen –whatever happens on the pitch today, it’s about the person sitting next to you, and if you see them in trouble, you must help them. We’re not just a team.

The most successful team in the league last year – Leicester – they’re not the best team in the league – but they are the best team in that dressing room. Those guys will die for each other and that’s why they’ll go the extra mile. And they can overcome things. That will last their whole life – those guys will never forget it.

At our girls academy just now we have about 120 players. If I’m realistic, maybe about four of them will play for our first team. So I want all of them to play, but I want them to leave Aberdeen Ladies better equipped for life than when they arrived.

The likelihood is you’re not going to be a footballer because there’s about 100 million people trying to do it. So the reality is you’ll play to a high level until you’re about 20.

How can I maximise that experience for you over that time and how can you get the most out of it? We’re in the biggest club in the district. So how can we help other teams? 99% of our players will never play for Aberdeen’s first side. So we want them to leave as good a player as possible so they can go elsewhere in their football career and succeed.

So if they don’t succeed with us – and that’s just one man’s opinion which happens to be mine just now – I would love them to prove me wrong so I have to go knock on their door and try to get them back.

On women’s football:

People keep saying to me ‘is women’s football taking off?’ I say – ‘it’s happened’. It’s just not at the level in this country just now as it is in other countries. You could argue that’s the same for men too. Players in this country are getting paid £3k a week; players in France are getting paid 200k/week. You could argue it’s not taken off men-wise here.

Three or four months ago it became the world’s fastest growing sport by a long distance. The women’s world cup did a lot for that. It’s huge in US; I was lucky enough to spend time away with Scottish first team’s manager.

She took a group of coaches over to France five months ago and we spent a week at Paris St Germaine and a week at Lyon. Now their players are getting paid. It’s full time professional women – fully integrated – there are 7,000 fans there; the PSG team took 5,000 fans with them. Their players were on Euros 3,000 – 9,000 a week.

Manchester City have their own fully integrated women’s stadium, I think it holds 15,000, all their players are full-time, professional. Arsenal is one of the biggest women’s’ teams in Europe. So all across Europe, the money is big. In Scotland we are not there yet, but we are nearly there, and it won’t be long before similar figures are bandied around here.

On the winning attitude:

Some Aberdeen people tend to go down there [to international training camps] and stick to the Aberdeen people; some of them can be very quiet and they will never stand up and say ‘I’m the best’ – whereas the Glasgow person is raised to believe ‘I’m the best’ and they think ‘you might beat me, but you’re going to take a hell of a beating doing it so much so you won’t come back for seconds’.

That’s the attitude – that‘s the kind of spirit – I have to create in Aberdeen. I dealt with a lot of Scousesrs and they treated their area as if it were a national area. They played to defend their area their principles, their beliefs. They have a mentality that people are not going to come up there and take anything from them easily.

We need to develop the same mentality here. I was raised by Rangers to believe that I was at Rangers because I was better than anyone else in the country. I was told we were going up on the bus to Aberdeen that we were coming up to TAKE the three points. There was never any discussion of losing.  ‘How many will we win by?’ Was the question, never ‘Are we going to win?’ People up here need to look at people like me and say that they will not let people take things for free.

Fear in general is your enemy more so than your opponent. But up here… I look at guys like leBron James, Kobe Bryant, Michael Jordan. These guys go on TV and say ‘we’re going to win because we’re better – we’re the best.’

Now, not only are they driving their own ego and pushing their own team up, they are planting the idea in their opponent’s mind ‘we are going to beat you.’ I look at that and the Floyd Mayweathers of the world – who everyone hates – as soon as people punch the code into sky to buy, then his job is done. The thing is to put bums on seats.

I have that attitude – I am the same. At my first interview at Aberdeen I was asked ‘how do you feel about getting this job?’

I said it should be my job, I am the best person. They kept saying to me are you nervous coming down here, you’re only 26? I am apprehensive, because I want to do well – but I am not nervous.

[this is a distinction that if more people could make in their lives I thought, we’d all be better off. By now I already want Stefan to go into motivational coaching, and become the UK’s education secretary].

Now that attitude here doesn’t go down well. People think I’m arrogant but they don’t understand the difference between confidence and arrogance. Confidence is someone who knows they can do something and are willing to work hard at it. Arrogance is someone who’s saying they’re the best but is doing nothing in the background and has nothing to prove it.

The reason I love American sport and America in general, Americans value personality and drive. They have the attitude of work hard and you will succeed. It might not happen, but you have a hell of a better chance. If you can make a big enough noise, the US attitude is ‘love me or hate me, you will not ignore me’.

That is why around the world they will succeed. When asked ‘who wants the opportunity?’ the American person will say ‘I’ll take it’. The idea of failure never enters their mind. The idea of possibly being a hero does. They may fail; but they don’t fear it. And anyone who is going to succeed at anything in my opinion if they fear failure they never truly will succeed anyway.

On Ali and other sports personalities:

Ali’s changed sport; not all people who watch sport on television understand that – for them it’s their passion, their hobby. When you’re actually doing it for a job, it takes on a completely different role. You’re then in the game. You will always be ruled by emotions to an extent, but you will have to look at it objectively. The thing about Mohammed Ali is that he’d made a lot of people billions of dollars.

He has created the boxing industry. You’re now looking at Nate Diaz and Conor McGregor – and people like that wouldn’t exist without Ali. Because like you said about Floyd Mayweather – some people may hate him – but he’s such a character he puts bums on seats. People may hate him so much they will pay to see him lose. Or you may love him so much you just have to go and watch the spectacle.

Life is about spectacle and characters. Zlatan Ibrahimovic has just signed for Man U and it’s not just the ability he’s got. ‘What’s he going to say? What’s he going to do?’ is why people tune in. We watch him to see – ‘is he going to do an overhead kick?’…. Is he going to hit that guy in the back of the heed’ ‘what’s he going to do?’ … and that’s why we go to watch.

People in sports sometimes forget that they’re in the entertainment industry. If you don’t like it – change the channel.

People get on me as I bang on about the America system. America’s got plenty of problems, but on the sporting side of things and the personality side of things and the general message they send out is sound: be yourself, don’t worry about what anyone else thinks. Where my brother lives in Los Angeles you can go down the street in a pink suit and nobody will shout at you or try to intimidate you.

If that’s the way you want to live your life go ahead, and I’ll live my life the way I want to.

Stefan on his coaching philosophy:

We’re playing Stirling at home this weekend [they won]. We played Rangers a few weeks ago. We lost 2-0 to Rangers; I was quite happy with the performance. There’s a lot of new information that was given to the players in the last few weeks. There’s a very big change in style of play to be undertaken. I’m pretty much telling the players to do the opposite of what they’d been told for the past two years. That change can’t happen overnight.

It will be an enjoyable change – I’m telling them now we’re playing to attack. I’d be happier if they lose 6-5 than 1-0 if they play attacking play offensive. I want them to go and try to win the game. As I was saying before, bigger teams have come to Aberdeen in the past and Aberdeen have stood back with 11 players and said ‘let’s try not to get beat.’

I’m not going to be stupid – but why would I ever presume that a team is going to come and beat us? We will make them beat us…. and if we attack them and have an attacking game and they beat us and we work hard and they work hard, I will shake their hand at the end of the game and say ‘well done’. But I’m not going to roll over for anyone.

I’m lucky enough that the ladies committee have put a lot of faith in me. We’re sitting third from the bottom. Now you’re never going to take over a team that’s top of the league – or there would be no changes. No changes would be needed. It’s a different kind of challenge. You’re going to take over a team that needs to be changed.

Now, there is a chance we could go down. But we are not going to go down. The team and the staff we have are too good to go down. I’ve come in and said we’re going to change the style. We’re going to go from launching the ball up the park to and playing really defensively to passing the ball on the ground and attacking teams and playing really attractive football that people want to watch.

It could easily take a season to bed that in. It takes a chairman or a committee a club a lot of courage to say to a coach ‘we don’t care if you lose the next 7 games – go and bed in your philosophy’. It takes someone pretty strong to do that – you could go backwards before you go forward. But it takes someone pretty courageous to give a manager that opportunity in the first place. Especially when the head coach is 26 years old.

On Susan Murray:

We’ve a player on our team, Susan Murray, who has played hundreds of games – she’s a real beacon and I’m really pushing the club to make a big deal about it. There’s not many females in the league who have played hundreds of games. And she made her debut in the premier league at the age of 14 – 22 years ago – when I was 4 and I am now her head coach. Most people in the area have never even heard of her. I think that’s wrong.

On the American College Sports System:

It’s about educating people, getting them more active, how can they achieve their life goal no matter what it is through football. If I had my choice, I would scrap the entire sports system in this country and put in the American system. Because the American system guarantees that you leave with a degree. Unless you know you are going to earn so much money that you don’t need it.

LeBron James can go to one year of college then the NBA because on the day he goes he signs a 120 million dollar deal with Nike. These people are the exception. Everyone else in the American system ends up with a degree. When they finish football, break their leg, they can go and get a well-paid job. We’re kicking kids onto the street here.

So I came up to Aberdeen and now I’m with the ladies. Since joining the ladies under 20s a year ago, I’ve sent 3 players to America on scholarships. One of them left yesterday – sorry, four.

One is at Kansas City; one at the University of Miami. They can go there and play an extremely high level at facilities that are on a par her with Real Madrid AC Milan. They will leave with a degree after three years and will come back a better person.

They will have been a country that’s hungry for talent for having lived there whether they come back after the three years and say ‘America’s not for me.’ Or even if they come back and say they hated it, they’re still coming back a better person – just for mixing with someone from The Lebanon. Just for mixing with someone from Australia, and mixing from some with Glasgow – they will come back a better person.

They will come back better equipped for an interview whether it’s Goldman Sachs or the Co-op, they will come across better.

It’s an opportunity we simply cannot deny them because we do no have the tools to compete. So if a kid comes to me / a kid’s father comes to me and says ‘Stefan, my daughter has an opportunity to go to the University of New York for three years all expenses paid’, I cannot look him in the eye and tell them their daughter should just stay put in Aberdeen because it’s an opportunity I should have taken myself.

Now if I can send people to Aberdeen and the club has already said to me – if we’re sending our best people to America and we’re losing that player – if that player’s of a level, we’re going to lose them anyway because they’re going to go and sign for Paris St Germaine or sign for Arsenal. The message that we’re now sending out is that ‘if you’re serious about your football and if you want to play for that level, you must come here because that’s where the best players are playing’.

There’s nobody from other regional clubs who’s signed for Kansas City. Kim Little who’s favourite to win the Ballon d’Or – she plays for Seattle; she’s from Aberdeen. Rachel Corsie also plays for Seattle, Alex Morgan and all these players are from Aberdeen.

I think my dad would back this up – the world is more connected now than it’s ever been. I know I can go to my phone and tell you right now what’s going on say on Fifth Avenue. I can probably get live feed. So I’m aware of the facilities that are there in America and how much money they are plugging into football.

The Americans will only lose at something for so long before they either decide ‘we’re going to compete here’ – they will not be embarrassed on the international stage at anything for long until they pump money into it and compete– or they’ll say ‘we’re not doing it at all’. I am aware of the facilities. Probably at the time I got the scholarship offer from Brown University – we didn’t know Brown was any different to Aberdeen University.

Aberdeen University is a great university, but it does not have a £300 million training facility. These people who are training at college level sport in America are international level athletes.

Laird on Self-confidence through sport:

But I think that if you watch LeBron James – a great example. Do an interview with him and he‘s a fantastic representative for his sport, for his club, for his country. He could stand in any board room in the world and deliver a presentation or speech. He could also stand on any street corner and talk to any drug addict and talk to them on their level.

We’re not producing people in this country that can do this. They’re standing up on TV and it’s ‘am.. em.. well..’’ They don’t want to speak to the media, they don’t want to project their view for fear probably of getting slaughtered in the media. But they’re not able to stand up there and put their point cross eloquently.

We’re taking kids out of school at 15 and throwing them into training grounds, and then not giving them any media training and expecting them to be able to speak to Sky sports. They will be absolutely bricking it.

I’m lucky. I grew up in a family where people were not afraid to say what they wanted; my dad’s got no problem with expressing his opinion or standing up in front of people and making a speech. So standing up in front of a room of people and speaking was never even something I thought about. When I was 20, I was speaking to the under 19s. People said to me ‘aren’t you nervous speaking?’ and I said ‘No, I’m talking about football. If I were standing up talking about mechanical engineering then I would have a problem’.

This gives the club a reputation now where if it’s a choice of ‘do I sign for Aberdeen or another club’, I can tell that person ‘come and play for me for three years, and you can go and play for Arsenal’. How many players have done that from other teams?

Laird on spending your time wisely:

I would rather people found Pokémon walking around, talking to other people face to face than finding them on their computer at their house. The computer is still going to be there when you’re in your 30s, 40s, 50s. There will be even better things than your computer. There will be things we can’t even imagine right now. There will come a time and it will come so much quicker than you think.

I sound more like I’m 46 now than I’m 26. You won’t be able to do it any more – so squeeze every second of being out there out of it that you can. Because being in that dressing room and down on that pitch with a ball at your feet – or whatever it might be for you – is the best time of your life.

Because no matter what is going on in your life at that time, when you step over that line it doesn’t matter how much money you’ve got, how nice a house you’ve got, what country you’re from – nothing matters when you’re on that pitch, and you only get access to that and the relationships you get from it for a certain amount of time. The access you get to a computer you’ll have your entire life.

A few (feminist) words of advice from Stefan to girls:

So: pick up a ball, especially if you’re a young girl – go out and play. People will tell you ‘it’s not for girls’ but people also said that ‘jobs weren’t for girls. Voting wasn’t for girls.’ There are still some countries in the world that believe that.

Things move on; people get more intelligent. We’re not stoning witches or gay or lesbian people. So if anyone shouts at you for having a football at your feet for being a girl, your reaction should honestly be to laugh at them: because they are scared, not you. There’s plenty of facilities now and people like you who will push you the whole way, and you can go out and pay your mortgages as a young girl playing football, and trust me, it’s the best way to pay your mortgage of any way in the world.


Watch Aberdeen Ladies! Follow Aberdeen Ladies at Instagram, on STL, on Facebook. And – I would say to all kids: go outside. You’d be amazed at how good your brain is.

That’s where we leave our interview, and I’m feeling AFC Ladies are definitely going places if he’s at the helm. If anyone wonders what ‘Feminism’ means to me, Laird’s nailed it. I’m going to watch their season with interest, and I’m convinced we’re going to see positive changes, and great things coming from these women on and off the field in times to come.

Follow on Twitter @aberdeenfcl
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Aug 212016

Aberdeen beat Partick Thistle, but probably were a bit lax letting them back into the game, ponders Voice reporter Andrew Watson.

pittodrieThe sun was shining and the pitch looked damn near perfect. A tad of a breeze blowing, but no more no less.

Just prior to the whistle was the beat of the drum in the Merkland Stand. After the whistle, the ball glanced across the box for Aberdeen, but no one there to connect to it.

Down the other end, Partick nearly broke through with some good link up play.

Dons’ keeper, Joe Lewis, then mopped up a Partick cross. Subsequently, somehow the Reds avoided further skelping after conceding a corner, too.

A cross for Aberdeen was also nullified, as the keeper grabbed the ball and killed play.

The latter, Tomas Cerny, palmed out another one, via a superb free kick outside box.

Aberdeen forced Partick into conceding a throw, almost forcing a corner.

Miles Storey, later, put the last of the backline, Cerny and the last remaining defender, under pressure for a goal opportunity. Another good chance followed not long after.

Adam Rooney went for a header, winning both it and a free kick for his team. This free kick was then headed over the bar.

There were claims for penalty as Peter Pawlett closed in on keeper and goal. He really should’ve scored.

Kenny McLean conceded a free kick in the Partick box, really lucky not to be booked. Rather late.

Aberdeen, again, escaped with Lewis, thankfully, getting his hands to the ball.

In the other box, there was a flurry of chances, starting with Cerny dropping the ball, and finishing with a free kick for Aberdeen.

1-0 Aberdeen – after 28 minutes into the game! Niall McGinn scored from that very kick, nestling in the top corner.

Rooney then outfoxed his opponent to put the ball into the box, but nobody was there.

Anthony O’Connor fared with a poor pass to the midfield, from the back.

Rooney was then involved in a scramble for goal. Amidst a melee he won a corner for the Dons. His teammates really should’ve capitalised and put the ball in the net during this confusion, to be honest.

His jousting with Cerny continued, winning Aberdeen a corner.

It wasn’t all Aberdeen, though. Thistle had what looked like a sure goal swatted away, somehow, out of danger.

They also won a corner, one which was headed over the bar.

Halftime 1-0.

Aberdeen opened with a darting run into the Partick box, alarming their opponents. They were dealt with in a manner as best as possible.

McLean then weighed in with another late challenge, still yet to be booked.

Partick crossed and connected with the ball, but didn’t convert it. Unlucky, really, and very fortunate for the dopey Dons.

The ball, again, found its way into the Aberdeen box. Thankfully, nobody exploited this.

To put any anxiety on the part of Aberdeen to rest, Storey capitalised on some sloppy play from a poor Partick defence after 58 minutes.

2-0 Aberdeen!

McGinn then waded in with a ball into the box, a ball which went out for a corner.

Wes Burns then came on, replacing Pawlett coming at 63 minutes. A minute later, goal hero, Storey, came off, replaced by Ashton Taylor.

Around this time, advantageous play for Aberdeen stopped with a Thistle player lying near the middle of the pitch. No doubt this would increase stoppage time after normal duration.

Shaleum Logan slipped, losing possession. Partick later won a free kick, one of no consequence.

McLean came with a fine piece of skill to beat his man, the ball through the legs, racing round to receive the ball from the other side. Not your typical nutmeg, as seemingly facing away from the player. His surge forward had potential, but Thistle frustrated the ball out of play.

Cerny, later, jumped to grasp a Taylor long ball.

The opposition came with a last gasp ball into the Aberdeen box, but hoofed it out of danger.

Lewis then broke up some fine link up play by Partick with an authoritative save.

Down the other end, on the other hand, the ball bounced precariously in the opposition’s box, Partick somehow avoiding the concession of a third goal.

Come 87 minutes in, the Jags lost Sean Welsh to a second yellow card.

Jayden Stockley replaced Rooney on 88 minutes. Four minutes additional play was announced.

Lewis then ran across the goal line, just to make sure the ball didn’t somehow find the net. Safe enough.

Then substitute Chris Erskine brought his team back into the game after 91 minutes, rocketing it into the top corner. Sections of the Main Stand appeared to applaud this effort; and quite rightly, too.


They pursued a leveller, coming close with a series of corners.

Even their keeper, Cerny, came down into the box in pursuit of that levelling goal. Logan appeared to be fouled as this happened, but Aberdeen managed eventually to scrape a victory.

Final score:  2-1.