Oct 272016

ally-begg-bookBy Red Fin Hall.

What’s the connection between a failed football player, a member of a successful 90s boy band and a TV presenter turned TV producer? The answer: Ally Begg.

Ally was brought up in Newburgh, had trials with Aberdeen FC, was a member of Bad Boys inc, and worked as a presenter on various sports TV channels before landing his current position as producer on beINSPORTS in Qatar.

His book, Begg To Differ, is the fascinating account of his life where everything always comes back to football.

It is an absolute fans’ view of the game, albeit a fan with some notable connections. Like Sir Alex Ferguson.

It is the story of his childhood growing up in the outskirts of Aberdeen and his pestering of his father to go to watch his favourite team, a team that was always at the forefront of his mind, even when he was working for one the rival teams’ television station.

He expresses his dis-satisfaction of the way his music career was handled and his decision to quit the business altogether.

How he deals with a catastrophic leg injury and its long term effect on his life, makes you cringe. Not by the writing but by the excruciating pain he has had to suffer.

The book deals with the ups and downs in his life without asking you to feel sorry for him, and subsequently his contentment in life, being married with a child. 

All in all, it’s a fine read, a giant step away from the usual football related tomes. Well worth investing your money in.

More comments on Begg to Differ here.

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Oct 212016

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

graham-findlay-ceo-nessAberdeen Football Club legends are reuniting from across the globe at a charity lunch in Aberdeen this month.
Eleven of Aberdeen Football Club’s 1976 Scottish League Cup winning squad will reunite for the first time in 40 years at a sell out event in aid of North East Sensory Services (NESS) on 28th October at the Chester Hotel, Aberdeen.

Legends of the exciting campaign, whose final took place on 6th November 1976 at Hampden Park, including international star Arthur Graham, Stuart Kennedy, Willie Garner and Joe Harper will join teammates to reminisce over the historic cup win.

The AFC heroes are travelling from as far afield as Australia for the reunion, which is the second fundraising football lunch for NESS.

NESS, which is based in Aberdeen, with centres in Dundee and Elgin, supports over 5,000 people who have vision or hearing loss. The charity has been helping people in Aberdeen since 1879 and is the only organisation that supports both deaf and blind people.

BBC sports presenter, and AFC fan, Richard Gordon, who was born and bred in Aberdeen, will compere the afternoon, and squad members will discuss the thrilling cup-winning run and take part in a question and answer session.

Guests will have the opportunity to get autographs and photographs with the team members, and some players have generously donated unique items for auction on the day.

Graham Findlay (pictured), CEO for NESS, said:

“We are delighted that 11 players of the AFC legendary 1976 squad are taking time out to join us in our celebration. With George Campbell coming from Australia, and others traveling from England and across Scotland, this will be a truly unique event.

“For fans like myself who just about remember the game in 1976, this is a real treat. We have some pretty incredible auction prizes which cannot be found anywhere else, and so we hope to raise some much needed funds for deaf and blind people in the North-east.”

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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 232016

By Red Fin Hall.

donsfansfinhallSince Aberdeen won the League Cup in 2014, their success in cup competitions has been non existent.

Tonight’s quarter final game against the team that they have had scant success of late, had the fans hoping that after their slow start to the season, they would follow up their away victory against Dundee with another emphatic victory.

A fine sunny day made conditions ideal for football. Aberdeen had planned lining up with two changes; with Stockley and Burns starting, and McGinn and Rooney on the bench, both of whom have been looking a bit tired in previous games.

But Hayes injured himself during the warm up giving McGinn a start.

Craig Thomson refereed this game, a game that was always going to be a close run thing.

Throughout the game Aberdeen tried their best to break down the resolute St Johnstone defence without giving keeper Zander Clark any saves to make. Saying that Joe Lewis in the home defence had nothing to do either. The first shot came from Shinnie after a Stockley cross, but it went well wide.

A crowd of around 9,000 saw four first half bookings, two each side, as both teams fairly evenly matched each other. Loan signing Maddison continued his flair playing as seen in the game against Dundee at the weekend, despite not getting enough of the ball.

Cup games under floodlights are the stuff that little boys, and girls, remember into their grown up years. This one however will not be one of them.

The tousy first half ended leaving the fans feeling a tad nervous, with the game having a no scoring draw written all over it despite a great ball in from Maddison to McGinn on the right wing, who crossed it to Burns who was running in. His shot went just past the post.

The visitors made their first substitution only three minutes into the second half, and they started off by going forward towards the Aberdeen goal, to no avail. The home team then set off on the attack, but that too petered out when a very poor Stockley ball fell woefully short of Logan and was easily tidied up the Perth men.

Meanwhile the signing section kept up their vocal encouragement to the accompaniment of their solo drummer.

In the 68th minute Wotherspoon had the ball in the back of the net, but, much to the relief of The Dons fans, he was clearly offside.

Aberdeen then made a double substitution, replacing Burns and Stockley with Pawlett and Rooney. The latter ‘s running in the opposition half made their defence work harder.

Five minutes from the end, St Johnstone were awarded a free kick 30 yards out. The same player who had the ball in the net, Wotherspoon, took the kick, which went over the wall and was heading for the net were it not for a remarkable save from Aberdeen’s number one, who deflected it onto the crossbar. The ball bounced back into play, and Ash Taylor cleared.

On the 90 minute mark, Shinnie made a run down the left, all but ignoring the three defenders covering him, he crossed the ball into the box in front of the home fans in the Richard Donald Stand to find the head of Rooney who directed the ball into the net.


The resultant jubilation was tinged with a fair dose of relief. The visitors pressed hard in the couple of minutes added on, but the men in red fought even harder to hold onto their lead.

St Johnstone, up until that point were seemingly content with a draw, and were totally deflated when the final whistle blew denying them extra time.

Aberdeen now go on to play Morton in the semi final,who incidentally, were the first professional club that manager Derek McKinnes played for.

Two footnotes from the game.

Before the game Willie Miller was pulling into the club car park to do his Radio Scotland duties. The lady on duty, trying to be helpful, asked him,

“Have you been here before? Do you know where you are going?”

After the whistle had gone and the teams were in their respective dressing rooms, some of the away team took exception to the loud, celebratory music emitting from the home dressing room, ( the door was open), and went and shut the door. Some home players took exception to that, and a minor altercation took place.

The next match is Sunday 25th with The Rangers being the visitors.

Sep 162016

image1aBy Fin Hall aka The Man In Red.

Some time ago I wrote about the fanzine, The Red Final. First published in May 1996 on the opening of The Richard Donald Stand at Pittodrie.
Now as the club stands on the verge of moving to to Kingswells, and the new Kingsford Stadium, the fanzine, stands on the precipice of disappearing from existence.

The publication which has been run wholly on a voluntary and non profit basis for the whole of its lifespan has, in all that time, had only two editors. the first being Chris Gavin.

Known by many as Old Beach Ender, or OBE, Chris could always be seen sporting his well worn, brown leather jacket as he stood outside the football stadium, selling the latest issue of the fanzine he started, for only £1.

When he was offered a position as a non-executive director on the board of Aberdeen Football Club, and the fans’ representative therein, he relinquished his editorial position to a younger and very keen contributor, Chris Crighton – aka ‘Merkie’.

The moving of OBE onto the board was a sign that fanzines were valuable voices of the fans, and were to be taken into consideration.

Merkie has taken this acceptance a step closer. He has a column in Aberdeen’s award winning matchday programme, and writes a post match opinion piece in the Press and Journal also.

Some of the contributors have been with the Red Final since it’s early days, and even contributed to it’s predecessor, The Northern Light which is still fondly remembered by those of us of a certain vintage.

Twitter, Facebook, and online Blogs may have given the fans more options on voicing their opinions, but this has not had too much of an direct impact on sales. It still sells around 2,500 copies when it hits the streets, which in itself is reasonable enough readership.

It has also been available for years via subscription and, more recently, online as a download. After all these intervening years it still sells for the same price – £1.

No, the problem comes not with sales nor with articles, although the editor’s inbox is never as full as it used to be, or as he would like; but with actually getting it onto the streets and into the hands of the ever keen public.

As I stated previously, some of the contributors have been with it since the nineties, and are not getting any younger. Ill health as well as age keeps some of them off the street corners, although with this latest issue, number 125, some have come back out to lend a hand.

Not all of the writers live in the city. The Editor himself, who usually has much more than one item in, lives in the central belt. I know, I know, we feel sorry for him, but it’s his choice. One even lives in Germany. So it has been down to just two sellers in recent times.

Despite numerous, pleading requests from Merkie via the aforementioned online vehicles, no fresh blood has volunteered to get down Pittodrie way on match days to help sell it.

When the move to Kingswood comes about, it would seem the logistics of distribution may well be impossible. It’s difficult enough at times as it is.

It may well be that when the remaining copies go on sale at the St Johnstone cup game next week, and the first ever game against The Rangers on the 25th, (if there are any left) it will be for the last time ever.

The final decision has yet to be ascertained. It is Scotland’s longest running fanzine, and, as far as I am aware, the only one in the country still going – but not for long. I personally will mourn it’s loss, being one of the older writers on it.

Sad days indeed.

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Aug 262016

Former Aberdeen FC stars, John Hewitt and Russell Anderson are backing the Friends of Murcar campaign which aims to secure a leading role for the North East club and its championship course in the Scottish golf scene. The campaign includes a competition to win round of golf with the Pittodrie legends. With thanks to Duncan Fisher.


Former Aberdeen FC stars, John Hewitt and Russell Anderson are backing the Friends of Murcar campaign.

One of Scotland’s classic links golf clubs, Murcar Links, has adopted a fundraising approach with a difference after launching its Friends of Murcar crowdfunding campaign to drive the club forward while contributing towards young golfers in the region.

The Aberdeen-based club is looking to raise £250,000 to fund the first phase of a new irrigation system to further enhance its championship course and ensure it remains one of Scotland’s best for generations to come.

The continued development of Murcar as a venue is expected to have a positive effect on the wider golfing community.

In keeping with Murcar’s keen support for youth development, 10% of the final amount raised by the Friends of Murcar campaign will be donated to the Paul Lawrie Foundation which provides opportunities for juniors of any age and background to take part in golf.

Although common within the business world, crowdfunding campaigns are a relatively alien concept for sports clubs. Murcar is hoping the approach will cement its position as a progressive club at the heart of Scottish golf, where it supports the game’s development at all levels from local junior programmes through to full European Tour tournaments.

Launched by Aberdeen FC living legends, John Hewitt and Russell Anderson, at the club, the Friends of Murcar campaign offers numerous fundraising entry points and rewards and, as extra incentive for Dons fans, anyone donating a minimum £20 will be entered into a prize draw to win a fourball with a friend to play alongside the Pittodrie heroes.

Commenting at the launch, Murcar Links club captain, Malcolm Gunnyeon, said:

“As a club, we are constantly looking at ways to innovate and improve on and off the course and, following years of supporting local, national and European golf as a venue and partner, we felt this was an ideal time to try something a little bit different to support the next stage of the development of Murcar Links.  

“We are proud of the role we have always played in supporting the development of golf within the North East and we hope the Friends of Murcar campaign will enable us to take the courses to another level for the benefit of not only members, but the range of visitors, competitors and partners who use it on a regular basis.

“The grassroots of the game are so important to a club like ours so it was an easy decision to donate 10% of the money raised to the Paul Lawrie Foundation. It does a fantastic job introducing youngsters to the game who, ultimately, will be the lifeblood of golf in the future. Support of the Foundation sits very well with our decision to make junior golf free at Murcar in 2016.”

1983 European Cup Winners’ Cup hero, and Murcar member, John Hewitt, added:

“I’ve been a member at Murcar for nearly 20 years and have seen the course develop over that time. At its best, it’s right up there with the top Scottish courses and if the club is able to raise the necessary funds, it will be fantastic for both members and the wider golfing community.”

Former League Cup-winning captain, Russell Anderson, said “The North East has great facilities across all sports and it is important those within the sporting community continue to offer opportunities for participation at all levels. Murcar Links is a fantastic golf club and the proposed works will help it continue supporting golf development in the region for many years to come.”

Full details of the Friends of Murcar campaign, including fundraising rewards and donations, can be found at murcarlinks.hubbub.net.

More Info:

Founded in 1909, Murcar Links, sitting on the picturesque Aberdeenshire coast, is a stunning and classic test of Scottish links golf, popular with members and visitors alike.

A regular host of tournaments of all levels, including the 2015 European Tour’s Saltire Energy Paul Lawrie Match Play, the club has a particular commitment towards the development of youth and amateur golf, having held qualifying for the Senior Open Championship as well as the full European Boys Team Championship and European Challenge Tour’s Scottish Challenge in recent years.

The Paul Lawrie Foundation (PLF) was launched in 2001; two years after Paul famously won the 1999 Open at Carnoustie. It provides opportunities for juniors of any age to start playing golf, compete at golf and improve their capabilities to the highest level.

The mission of the Foundation is to get as many young people playing golf as possible but, ultimately, it would be great to see someone who started out or developed their golf with the Foundation winning on tour or even going on to win a Major championship.

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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.

Aug 152016

Aberdeen could only grind out a draw against a defensively resolute Hearts side, says Voice reporter Andrew Watson.

merkalndpic3In terms of the pitch, the day started brightly, a bit of rain ensuring the pitch not to be too dry. ‘Waterfront’, by Simple Minds, with “come in, come out of the rain”, playing over the tannoy very apt, indeed.

Hearts’ support was very vocal, nestled in the away end of the South Stand. There appeared to be strains of “You’re Not Famous Anymore” emanating from that very section.

When the match proper began, Peter Pawlett connected with Jayden Stockley, the latter almost heading the ball into the net.

Then there was a long distant effort from Aberdeen. Right idea, but the ball went wide.

Pawlett forced a corner, with the ball eventually going out for a goal kick.

A subsequent scramble in the Hearts box could’ve been a goal for Aberdeen.

Niall McGinn had his shot deflected by the keeper, Jack Hamilton, for a corner. Hearts fared with an attempt of their own, too.

Wes Burns created a free kick, which was taken by McGinn.

The first real flashpoint saw the ball almost over the line, saved expertly by Hamilton via an acrobatic punch out of the danger area.

Down the other end, the ball bobbled favourably for Aberdeen as Hearts struck out on goal.

The first booking of the game came as Aberdeen won a free kick.

Hearts then had more close attempts on goal, with Aberdeen very fortunate to survive them.

The Jambos even seemed to be awarded a soft foul not too far from the outside of the Aberdeen box. A glancing header went wide.

One of their charges, Faycal Rherras, however, got booked for petulance, having booted the ball away in anger in response to a free kick decision.

Pawlett was awarded another free kick at Hearts’ expense, too.

Then followed yet another Hearts’ booking, some of their play seeming very cynical.

Shaleum Logan got forward, his ball, whether shot or cross, ending up in Hamilton’s arms.

McGinn’s free kick, later on in the game, went over the bar.

Halftime 0-0.

Anthony O’Connor kicked off the second half with a superb sliding block to deny the Jam Tarts.

Aberdeen, in turn, weighed in with a powerful but inaccurate shot.

O’Connor, again, fared with a timely tackle of the sliding variety.

There were yellow cards aplenty as Aberdeen won another free kick.

Logan seemed to help steer the ball, as best as he could, into the net. Pity the recipient put it wide.

McGinn raced down the wing, putting the ball over the bar.

Hearts came close, with O’Connor perhaps changing the trajectory of the ball favourably for Aberdeen.

The Dons then made a double substitution with Burns coming off for Kenny McLean, and Stockley coming off for Adam Rooney.

Aberdeen advanced, but were swatted away, Hearts faring with a superb defensive diving header.

O’Connor appeared to be hurting after another excellent commitment to the Aberdeen defensive cause.

Hearts then somehow absorbed a weighty Aberdeen attack.

After this, Hamilton leapt to catch the ball and defuse Aberdeen.

The latter were lucky not to be a goal down, after inviting Hearts to score after allowing too much time on the ball.

Graeme Shinnie was commanding, soaking up tackles and, at the same time, ploughing forward.

Then a header glanced wide for Aberdeen.

A final Aberdeen substitution was made, Miles Storey coming on for Pawlett.

Having not put a foot wrong up until now, O’Connor appeared to flap for the first time. Thankfully this was rectified by an alert Logan, sweeping the ball away from danger.

Arguably Hearts standout player, keeper Hamilton, for the umpteenth time, rose to the occasion, catching yet another Aberdeen delivery. He did so, again, even holding on after being knocked off his feet, courtesy of an aggressive Aberdeen attack.

Hearts then came with a fortuitous free kick, in a very advantageous position. It was struck with some power, but hitting off the defensive wall.

The Hearts’ defence, in turn, really put their heads on the chopping block with their never say die, suicidal defensive diving headers to prompt the ball out of danger.

Aberdeen had a penalty claim ignored.

Hearts put what appeared an inevitable goal over the bar from, really, no distance at all.

An additional two minutes of play was announced.

Before the Red Army faithful knew it, their side had been frustrated to a second subsequent goalless draw. Very disappointing, indeed.

Final score:  0-0.

Jul 302016

Aberdeen may go out on the away goal rule to NK Maribor as it stands, but fought gallantly to equalise, remarks Voice reporter Andrew Watson.

pittodrieThere was fine weather on match night, the sunlight highlighting no imperfections on the pitch whatsoever.

The purple and yellow of the away side perhaps evoked worries that perhaps the Reds were about to face the expertise of a Slovenian equivalent to Italians, Fiorentina.

‘Two Tribes’, by Frankie Goes To Hollywood, blared around Pittodrie, signifying when two tribes go to war or, roughly speaking, Scotland versus Slovenia.

The opening moments before the game also saw red and silver streamers taken from under seats and risen above heads, making a colourful addition to the Merkland Stand.

A point of note is that Celtic, Rangers and Hibernian have all suffered defeat to Maribor.

Come the match, Aberdeen kicked things off quickly, the ball glancing the post and going out for a corner. Later, they again came in close on goal.

Further to that, the ball was knocked over the bar. Aberdeen definitely a team of intention at this point.

Maribor’s Marwan Kabha then went down outside Aberdeen’s box, and looked as if he’d been shot.

Captain Ryan Jack weighed in down the other end, winning a corner.

Adam Rooney then forced keeper, Jasmin Handanović, to spill the ball with the strength of his effort.

Jonny Hayes came with a bombing run down the wing, though seemingly got hustled off the pitch.

Rooney, following that, won a free kick outside Maribor’s box. The tension was palpable in the Merkland Stand, with clapping of hands and pounding of drum. The free kick in question was a duff one, maybe put off by those very vocal fans?

Anyway, Maribor had a slip up themselves, skying an opportunity to earn a rather easy goal. They then won a corner, followed by another. Aberdeen’s Joe Lewis seemed to flake out a bit, and was fortunate not to pay any consequences.

Aberdeen then had a fortuitous free kick, positioned at an angle and just outside and to the left of the box.

Aforementioned diva, Kabha, then got booked. Much satisfaction amongst the Red Army.

Handanović looked, later on, a bit shaky after close quarters with an Aberdeen attack.

Andrew Considine then winged in a ball, the following connection only just off the far post.

Aberdeen then had a melee of chances, just not quite getting there.

Lewis, down the other end, simply opened his arms to receive an incoming Maribor attack.

However, Aberdeen got slack, and were fortunate to live through it unscathed.

Another melee of chances occurred, this time for Maribor.

Shaleum Logan was then caught with an unfortunate handball. He slid with arms out, as done in that motion, flailing slightly as he did so and touching the ball involuntarily. The conceded free kick went over the bar.

Hayes was, again, bombing down the wing but misfired his delivery spectacularly. Not for the want of trying, though.

He later made amends, showing himself as the consummate battler and warrior. Flashes of skill, occasional brilliance, all proving how steadfast an asset he is to the team.

A cheeky moment also saw the winger take ball towards his own half, inciting an attack, before jinking, in an instant, down towards the other end.

Handanović, down said end, made a superb reactionary save to keep Maribor’s clean sheet.

Only moments later Aberdeen glanced the post.

Halftime 0-0.

Maibor started brightly, lacing together a series of slick passes.

Lewis then dived to palm out a shot for a corner.

Aberdeen were also fortunate to scurry away the ball before any damage was inflicted.

Jayden Stockley did a fine job holding up play, and winning a throw.

Logan, down the other end, made sure the ball went out for a goal kick, doing his best to get in the way of the Maribor forward.

Hayes, ever present in this game, instigated a foray into the Maribor box.

Lewis then scooped a low drive comfortably.

There were also swift moves by both Logan and the referee himself, Norwegian, Tore Hansen. The latter obviously keen for play not to stop start as the former latched expertly to a tricky ball.

Stockley, surely poised to score, hit the rebound and the ball went out for an unsuccessful corner.

The Red Army were up in arms about liberties taken with a questionable run up taken for a Maribor throw. Thankfully, Hansen whistled to put it right.

Stockley, beginning to get in amidst proceedings, fared with a superb layoff header into the box.

Hayes then had a crack on goal, in towards the post with a low drive.

Niall McGinn also had a, seemingly volleyed, attempt. Not too far off from goal, either.

Ashton Taylor, in turn, weighed in with an attempt of his own.

Hayes, all over the game so far, teamed up with McGinn for a set piece. Aberdeen heads in the box were only scratches away from connecting.

A plethora of purple shirts in box absorbed a subsequent McGinn cross.

Graeme Shinnie was taken off, with Wes Burns coming on after 72 minutes. That same minute, Kenny McLean was put on, with Stockley coming off.

Burns immediately came in with a good delivery, but there was nobody there to exploit it.

Aberdeen were then lucky that a Maribor advance happened to peter out.

It seemed there was reticence on the part of McLean to, next, cost Aberdeen an excellent chance on goal.

The moment came, though, and Rooney scored. A false dawn, however, as this goal was chalked off for offside.

Dreams seemed hammered away, down the other end, as Maribor pounced mercilessly. Taylor seemed largely at fault.

0-1 (Milivoje Novaković) after 83 minutes.

There was a sense that hope was gone, especially when the home side hadn’t exploited scoring outwith next week’s Slovenian stronghold.

Handanović was in for some punishment, too, though. He dropped to the floor, having saved an Aberdeen lash at goal.

McLean then skied a ridiculous ball, well away from any of his teammates, either in the box or the surrounding area.

Fellow substitute, Burns, took a crack on goal, which seemed easily caught by the aforementioned keeper.

Then came an emphatic equaliser, via previous guilty party, Taylor, from Hayes after 88 minutes.


McGinn then fared with a quite a poor free kick, the ball not even elevating above the Maribor wall.

There followed several attempts at goal, Maribor truly besieged.

It will be a tough call for Aberdeen to get any further in this competition, though an exemplary and disciplined performance in Slovenia might squeeze them through. To be fair, this was an excellent team performance, and it was maybe a tad unfair that they lost that goal, considering the onslaught they delivered upon their seasoned opponents.

Final score:  1-1.