Sep 262014

Livingston were perhaps better than the score line suggested, but Aberdeen recorded a convincing victory nonetheless, opines Voice reporter Andrew Watson.

merkalndpic2It was quite a mild night, considering it being late September.

Though spitting slightly towards the end of the match, it was nothing to impact much upon the pitch and its conditions.

Pittodrie seemed subdued and rather

Facing lower league opposition in only round three of the League Cup will do that to attendances, unless of course you’re referring to the Terrible Three in the Championship at the moment.

The Reds started well. Against the run of play, they took an early lead.

Nicky Low fired in a corner, and defender Ashton Taylor met it with a header.  What better way to shake off responsibility for that costly error, made against Dundee United, on the opening game of the season?

1-0 Aberdeen just 8 minutes in!

For a lion’s share of the first half the League Cup holders were pinned back. Come the second half, Aberdeen somewhat starved the visitors of meaningful possession in the final third.

However, it was actually surprising, relatively speaking, how end to end the game was. Nothing of note happened, though, and Aberdeen almost struggled to consolidate their lead.

Andrew Considine then came on for Low. That same minute, 61 minutes into the game, Considine was pivotal and instigated a Dons attack.

He found Jonny Hayes; Hayes found David Goodwillie; Goodwillie, easily Aberdeen’s most clever and skilful player, found Adam Rooney with a back heel. Rooney found the net.

2-0 Aberdeen!

Then after 71 minutes Ryan Jack was stretchered off, replaced by Barry Robson, and Cammy Smith came on for Goodwillie.

Only three minutes later Rooney doubled his tally for a brace. He drilled into the bottom left corner and found gold.

3-0 Aberdeen!

Considering the whipping meted out, things were quite quiet. Until the 87th minute, that is.  Peter Pawlett to Hayes, Hayes to Rooney. Goal.

4-0 Aberdeen, with Rooney the hat trick hero!

I suppose the score was quite deceiving because Aberdeen were very fortunate to go away from the match with a clean sheet intact. Considering he’s second choice keeper, Scott Brown did well to make saves more akin to that of Dons’ number one, Jamie Langfield.

Final score:  4-0.

May 202014

With thanks to Paul Eckersley, Black & White Publishing.Scotland 74 sq

Former Dons and Scotland manager, Craig Brown, currently on the Pittodrie board, will visit WH Smith, St Nicholas Centre, Aberdeen on Thursday 22 May 2014 at 18.30.
He will be helping Richard Gordon, not-so-closet Dons fan, impeccably-neutral broadcaster, and author of Glory In Gothenburg, publicise his latest fitba volume Scotland ’74: A World Cup Story.

This is an early chapter in the continuing story of Scotland’s ability to find new ways of being eliminated from international tournaments.

This is a great opportunity to meet Craig, a Scottish sporting legend, and head coach last time we qualified for a major final in France 1998. He and Richard will share stories from West Germany 1974, when proper mannies’ fitba was played, commemorated in Richard’s book.

It’s an evening not to be missed – unlike that half-chance Billy Bremner had against Brazil. Forty years on, the therapy’s beginning to work.

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Apr 182014

Aberdeen Voice’s ‘poetry mannie in residence’ Bob Smith revisits the land of Lear and returns with more topical limericks.

There is a mannie ca’ed Trump
Fa is a maist affa grump
Fin nae gettin his ain wye
Wid lit oot ess cry
Menie a micht hae ti dump
There is a chiel named Tucker
Ti some he wis a richt f- -ker
Ti “The Donald” aywis fawnin
Fin the Trump era wis dawnin
Some fowk he played fer a sucker
A lad doon in Glesga ca’ed Ally
His team wisna able ti rally
The Gers hidna a clue
Their fans war fair “blue”
Raith Rovers war haen a ball eh?
There wis a young loon ca’ed May
Fer St Johnstone he won the day
Aiberdeen fans were pissed
Fin chunces war missed
Nae Cup Final fer Dandies in May
There is a mannie fae Muse
Fa tries ti mak us swally a ruse
“Fowks views we did heed
Bit gless biggins we need
Gweed views ye’ll jist hae ti lose”
Scotland’s First Meenister “Wee Eck”
Micht he hae the poond or the maik
Wull “big business” pull oot
An doon ti England fair scoot
Leavin Scotia’s economy a wreck
There is an MP ca’ed Miller
Fa didna pye back a the siller
She bint a fyow rules
Took us aa fer richt fules
Her hans nae langer on tiller
There is a chiel Davie Moyes
Fa tried oot aa o his ploys
Yet Man Utd got beat
Fans stairtit ti bleat
An oot their prams cam the toys
There wis young fella named Leigh
Fa plays fitba fer Celtic FC.
Is Griffiths jist a daft loon
Wi nithing unner his croon?
Or a dyed in the wool racist “b”?
A politican mannie Farage
On TV he fair wis in charge
Nick Clegg wis ootfocht
As mair votes he socht
Wull UKIP noo mount a barrage
There is a leader named Putin
In Crimea he fair pit the boot in
Maist fowk in Ukraine
Think the bugger a pain
Hopin aat’s the eyn o the shootin
There is a Prime Meenister Cameron
In Hooses o Parlimint is aye yammerin
We’re aa in it thegither
Like sister an brither
Hame ess message he is noo hammerin
There is a chiel named Pistorius
In Sooth Africa his life’s nae harmonious
In sheetin his quine
Wis he oot o his myn
Wis the relationship a bit acrimonious
There wis a quine named Peaches
Eence hid trouble wi media leeches
Noo the puir quine is deid
Wull the “vultures” noo feed
Aboot society fit dis ess teach us
There wis a mannie John Muir
Throwe America he likit ti tour
Some progress he thocht blind
Hurtin mair than mankind
Some criticism he hid ti endure
Lord Myners a chief fae the Co-opie
His reforms some thocht a bit ropey
He resigned on the spot
Sayin aat’s noo yer lot
The power struggle it is a bit dopey
There is a young prince ca’ed Dod
Fa’s the latest royalty bod
Some wifies wint aa gooey
Prince Dod thocht—a phooey
A’m a fartin an riftin wee sod
There wis a rhymer ca’ed Burns
His love life it took a fyow turns
Mony lasses he lo’ed
He stood oot in a crood
Did aat plooman poet Rabbie Burns
There wis an auld chiel ca’ed Bob
Writin poetry fer AV wis his job
Some thocht it wis great
Yet ithers fair got irate
As “grenades” he sometimes did lob.
©Bob Smith “The Poetry Mannie” 2014
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Mar 112014

pittodrie2There wasn’t much between the Dons and Sons in this Scottish Cup quarter final tie, recounts Voice reporter Andrew Watson.

Cold yet relatively windless, it was the match everyone thought would be a wipe out for the away side, and that Dumbarton would be swept away under a deluge of goals inflicted upon them by a stubborn Aberdeen side.

In reality, the only incident that put anything between the two teams was an Aberdeen goal after 53 minutes.

Set piece king Barry Robson found the head of Adam Rooney not long into the second half via a corner, where before, the Reds were generally under the cosh and were lucky not to be at least a goal down.

1-0 Aberdeen!

There were some hairy moments for the home side as the Championship outfit quested for an answer to Rooney’s effort.

Niall McGinn then came on for Cammy Smith after 70 minutes.  Scott Vernon followed, replacing goal scorer Rooney on the 83 minute mark.

Robson left the pitch four minutes later, with Nicky Low coming off the bench.

It’s definitely good that Aberdeen are a side able to fashion themselves as a team able to grind out results when not everything is going their way.

On the other hand, it’s a tad worrying that they struggled so much against lower league opposition.  They’ll have to turn on the style a tad more to beat teams like their League Cup rivals Inverness.

It could perhaps be put down to fatigue given the spate of fixtures they’ve had this last thirty days or so.

Final score:  1-0.

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Feb 212014

With thanks to Dave Macdermid.

Dons bikeAs the Dons prepare to contest the League Cup Final against Inverness Caley Thistle at Celtic Park, supporters who were around at the time of Aberdeen’s last success in that competition will recall the somewhat bizarre prize awarded to the sponsor’s man of the match on the day, midfielder Stephen Glass – the famous, or should that be infamous Coca-Cola mountain bike.

Now, almost 19 years later, the most photographed bike in the history of AFC is going to be raffled, with the proceeds going to the Pittodrie youth development.

Stephen, now residing in the US and coaching the under-14 and under-16 teams at the North Carolina Alliance Academy, explains:

“I still get asked about the bike and what happened to it. It’s actually at my in-laws and Jack, my father-in-law, keeps it in pristine condition. Having come through the Pittodrie youth system myself, I wanted to put something back into the club, particularly as I’m now involved in that area, and donating the bike seemed the obvious choice, particularly with the impending cup final.

“I will be eternally grateful for the grounding the coaches and staff at Pittodrie provided, so hopefully there is an interest to help them continue their work developing more players for the future.”

Stephen’s father-in-law and former Pittodrie season ticket holder Jack McCombie has kept the bike at his house in Montrose since 1995.

“I’ve been round the block on it maybe two or three times and it’s been cleaned regularly so it’s looking good. It’s an important piece of the Club’s history and I’m sure interest in the raffle will be significant.”

AFC Head of Youth Development Neil Simpson is confident that supporters will be eager to get their hands on such an iconic vehicle.

“It’s a fantastic gesture by Stephen and Jack and really appreciated. The picture of Stephen being given the bike in the soaking rain at Hampden is one of the most memorable images of that day and it’s a real opportunity for someone to own something that was very much part of that occasion! Everyone who buys a ticket will also be helping to invest in the future of AFC and that can only be a positive.”

The raffle for the unique bicycle, which is being undertaken in conjunction with the AFC Heritage Trust, will be limited to 5000 tickets at £5 each. They can be purchased via , clicking ‘donate’ on the home page, after which a unique number will be allocated to each ‘ticket’ purchased. Alternatively, numbers can be purchased at Aberdeen Football Club.

Tickets for the raffle can be purchased up until 23.59 on Thursday 13th March 2014, with the draw taking place at Pittodrie Stadium at 12 noon on Friday 14th March 2014. Details of the winner will be published on the Club website that afternoon.

For info – Dave Macdermid –; 01224 650406; 07710 580148.

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May 142013

Whilst the more senior levels in Scottish football argue interminably about structure and finance, life goes on in the Highland League, with a last-day title decider between the top two teams set to rouse passions and tribal rivalries, just as it should. That’s this week. Last week, the Highland League Cup final was played. David Innes was in Banff supporting his hometown club Keith and doubled up by reporting for Voice.

The venue, Princess Royal Park was controversial. Although it’s a pleasant ground, there is no shelter for fans other than the impressive stand and the weather forecast was inconclusive.

It didn’t rain, it was pleasantly warm in the Banffshire coast sun and the pitch was in lovely condition for the time of year, so the organisers got it right.

Locos dominated early on and after missing a couple of chances, former Maroon Jason Begg put them ahead in 18 minutes.

Harlaw midfielder Clark Bain was dominant and although Keith posed a threat via Andy McAskill playing wide right, they were fortunate to turn around only a goal down.

Darren Still’s half time advice must have helped as the Maroons started the second half, playing uphill, in much more aggressive manner, yet it was Inverurie who looked more likely to add to their score. Then a crucial momentary lack of concentration by Stuart McKay allowed Sean Keith to cross for Andy McAskill to level at 1-1 after his first shot was blocked.

Locos came back and pressed hard. They almost went ahead again straight away, then a long free kick by Locos’ ‘keeper Andy Reid bounced off the Keith post with the defence assuming that the shot was going wide.

That bit of luck seemed to galvanise Keith and when defender Kieran Adams handled a shot on the ground, talisman and skipper Cammy Keith showed no mercy and buried the penalty behind Andy Reid. Suddenly the noise was coming from the Maroons fans.

Even Reid’s foray forward for a late corner couldn’t see Locos break down Keith’s defence with Stuart Walker and Gary McNamee dominant, and when McAskill broke away in stoppage time, Steven Park’s clumsy tackle earned the defender a red card and Keith a penalty. This time Cammy Keith’s shot hit the post but there was no way back for Locos, heads down and with a player short.

The final whistle saw gleeful celebrations on and off the pitch as Keith salvaged something from a poor season and delivered long-serving Darren Still his first trophy as the Maroons’ manager. It was a delight to see so many ex-players joining the young team as it soaked in the glory. Players are well taken care of at Kynoch Park, although the club does not pay the inflated wages offered by others. They repay that loyalty by continuing to offer their support.

The club chairman Sandy Stables, his board and committee put in incredible efforts to keep the club they love going, and even if they are never rewarded by big attendances, they put smiles on the faces of those who do attend on afternoons such as this.

Keith have an energetic squad of young players, with a few experienced hands around to guide them through the tough times. This victory will help instil belief in the squad where the traditional Keith team spirit is hugely in evidence. Rumours abound of a few experienced signing over the summer, which, allied to the abundant energy of the loons, might just see them cause a few upsets next season.

Locos manager Kenny Coull has admitted that his squad needs major restructuring and a few of the older players, who have served the club brilliantly since their days as a fledgling Highland League club, may have to move on.

Whatever the summer holds, it has been an exciting 2012-13 in the Highland League, with the Aberdeenshire Shield Final going ahead this week, before the title showdown at Pitmedden on the scheduled final day of the season. It’s the best fitba going.

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May 092013

Reminiscences of Gothenburg 1983 are appearing everywhere this week, and quite right too. At the time we thought such success would be forever. Now we know better but we have vivid, rainbow-hued, life-affirming memories never experienced by the plastic pretenders who would crow over us now.

It was quite a week thirty years ago. Here’s what David Innes remembers.

On Monday 9 May I went to the old Odeon cinema to see Local Hero, then just out but still relevant today when events just north of Balmedie are taken into account.

As I emerged blinking into the afternoon sun, the headline on the Evening Express mannie’s billboard proclaimed that Thatcher had called for the dissolution of Parliament.

Although the dissolution didn’t actually happen until Friday 13 May (feeling lucky, punk?), I still maintain that the Dons greatest triumph DIDN’T take place under the Tories since she’d already decided to go to the country. It’s just a pity that she didn’t go to one far far away from here.

We flew to Gothenburg early in the morning of Wednesday 11 May via one of the fleet of charter planes that Britannia Airways had laid on.

The airport was jam-packed with Dons fans, the duty free shop had queues a hundred yards long and all everyone seemed to buy was dreadful gold-canned Carlsberg and half bottles of Whyte and Mackays. It did the trick.

This was my first time in the air, unless you count the times that clogging midfielders of opposing Division V amateur teams dealt with my silky skills by decking me. Or maybe it was the other way round. Anyway, somewhere above Great Western Road, a gap in the cloud appeared. Through it, I saw an Alexanders yellow service bus looking like a Matchbox toy. I wasn’t happy, but a giant swig of the duty free worked wonders.

Gothenburg was overcast. It was still mid-morning local time. A few Real fans greeted us as we came off the airport bus. One of them was El Bombo, the geezer with the drum in the Ullevi later on. One of our crew swapped his Dons scarf for El Bombo’s purple and white Real one.

We had Carlsberg for lunch and went to explore the city. Reds awye, the strains of Here we go, here we go, here we go and The Northern Lights seeming to be in the air everywhere, along with that dreadful European Song.

It began to rain. Hale water. Hosing it doon. It was like every Monday holiday of the year rolled into one. I’m not sure that it’s stopped yet. My trainers are still sipin.

In the hotel, I changed into my new Dons shirt, bought in Simpsons Sports at the weekend. “A special one, wi writin on it”, the Simpsons’ shop quine had announced. I still have it. It’s worth a fortune due to its rarity, but it no longer fits me. I guess it must have shrunk in the wash. Or something.

Something historic and emotional and ace and fab happened out on the pitch

We gathered in the bar to await the bus to the stadium and got a rebuke from the BBC’s Gordon Hewitt who we’d accused of being an Old Firm gloryhunter. He wasn’t. He’d paid for his own trip as a Dons fan and had taken his nephew from Oldmeldrum with him.

We bought him beer after the game as an apology. He waxed lyrical about our full backs Rougvie and McMaster, both playing out of position, but his heroes of the evening.

It was raining outside. We smuggled our half bottles into the stadium. Others were allowed to bring in their entire beery carry-outs when the Swedish Police saw, “how much that beer means to you sir” as thrifty Reds decided to neck a dozen cans there and then rather than dump them in the skip. I was the beneficiary of my old friend from Keith, Beel Murdoch’s stash of McEwans Export, a welcome change from bloody Carlsberg.

Something historic and emotional and ace and fab happened out on the pitch, I think. Bedlam broke out around me at the final whistle. I removed myself from the mass greet-along, tear-athon terracing cuddle being simultaneously enjoyed by 12000 delirious Reds just to soak (aye…) it all in, to take a mental photo of the mental goings-on and the spectacular denouement taking place out there.

My sister’s kitchen still has a blurry Instamatic photo of the scoreboard reading Aberdeen 2 Real Madrid 1 in pride of place. It still gives me an emotional tug every time I see it.

Back in the hotel we drank Swedish beer, commiserated with the Real fans who were very decent people, celebrated with the locals who had taken the Dons to their hearts and asked about getting a shottie in the swimming pool, politely turned down. Maybe the hotel staff thought we were wet enough already, on the inside as well as the outside.

We stayed up all night drinking bloody Carlsberg, reliving the triumph, planning excitedly for future trips to European Cup finals and ended up playing football on a disused railway line across the motorway from the hotel at 0500.

A couple of hours sleep and off we headed to the St Machar Bar to celebrate with something other than bloody Carlsberg

Gothenburg Airport was like Merkland Road East. The spirit was akin to “the first Hogmanay aifter the war” as Scotland The What? Might have put it.

We greeted friends we’d only seen a couple of days before like heroes returning from El Alamein. We tried to offer them a drink. “Nae bloody Carlsberg?” they enquired before refusing politely.

We flew home and got to Dyce only half an hour after we’d left due to the time difference.

All the papers were bought, even the scummy sleazy salacious tabloids and right wing loonypress. They’re still in my loft. A couple of hours sleep and off we headed to the St Machar Bar to celebrate with something other than bloody Carlsberg. Jim Alexander, the licensee, even stood his hand, almost as remarkable as the Dons’ win.

Then we raced to Pittodrie and waited hours to see our heroes, who had taken forever to wend their way through the suburbs and a city centre crammed full of north-easterners delirious at the triumph.

We celebrated for weeks. Cans of Carlsberg seemed to multiply in the hastily-discarded kitbags we brought home. I doubt that another can of the goddam vile brew was ever drunk by anyone who returned with any.

We thought that this high would last forever, but it didn’t. Ach weel. We had our few years in the sun, skelping arses all over Europe, dominating at home and generally just being ace.

We’re still ace, of course. We are the chosen ones.

Now, about that something historic and emotional and ace and fab that happened out on the pitch…

Richard Gordon has written beautifully about the entire history of that battle campaign in The Glory of Gothenburg, and thanks to Black and White Publishing, we have two paperback copies to offer as prizes to readers of Voice.

Answer me this, Reds – Who tripped as he dashed from the dugout at the final whistle in the Ullevi Stadium and was trampled all over by his fellow occupants of the dug-out?

Post your answer to .

The first two correct entries will get the books.

Please include your name and postal address when you respond to us, it’s really difficult for the postie to deliver to an e-mail address.

Come on you Reds.

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Nov 192012

The Dons thrashing the Buddies 4-1 away from home last weekend was perfect revenge for their shameful exit from the League Cup at the hands of the same team. You’d have thought then they’d snatch at least a point from title holders Celtic, even after the Hoops’ heroics against Barcelona in the Champions League, writes our man at Pittodrie, Andrew Watson.

Despite regular penalty box onslaughts from the Hoops, Aberdeen looked promising on the break, particularly with Fraser’s runs down the flank. His verve though, before long, was suppressed by Celtic’s height advantage at the back.

That flickering flame of hope, sometimes held aloft solely by Fraser, was snuffed out when he sustained a bad knock.

Considering the force of the admittedly fair tackle, he seemed to brush it off quite casually after some time off the pitch.

Fraser bwas giving as good as he got, making crunching tackles with a tenacity that just about matched the force with which he himself has been targeted this season.

He eventually succumbed to a leg strain sustained in a last ditch effort to get the ball into the Celtic box, replaced after 64 minutes by Vernon, not quite the goal talisman this season that he’s been in the past.

Aberdeen had spent the first half getting away with farcical zonal marking, granting Celtic far too much space to create. This contentment to sit back, and not press and get in their opponent’s faces was rewarded, with Celtic seemingly unable to exploit.

Perhaps they couldn’t quite believe that clear-cut chances were being offered to them by a team much changed from the one that sustained that infamous 9-0 battering at Parkhead.

Anyway, Robertson came on for Rae at the restart, rather strange hoping that youth would succeed when locking horns with a multi-million pound beast.

Regardless, it was 0-1 after 73 minutes. This was bound to happen, sooner or later.

It’s with a heavy sigh I admit the only player worthy of a mention was in Celtic colours and he didn’t even score the opening goal. Though dispatched by Tunisian Nouioui from close range, Victor Wanyama’s thunderous effort from 30 yards deserved to burst the net but smacked violently off the post.

Little wonder that, after viewing this game, Manchester United may be after the Kenyan’s signature. He was an authority throughout and marshalled his team – he looked like a captain in all but title and armband – with a supremacy suggesting he’s worthy of a shot at the Premiership big time.

Let’s not say too much about Celtic’s second goal four minutes later, delivered into the bottom corner in an expert manner by ex-Don Mulgrew. He’s got a habit of inflicting pain upon his ex-club.


Only then did manager Brown decide even to attempt to counter Celtic’s height at the back, bringing on Fallon to replace the pint-sized Hayes after 78 minutes. Too little, too late.

Final score:  0-2.

Really, it should have been 0-3, but thankfully the Dons were saved further blushes by the linesman who deemed Wanyama’s headed effort offside. If there was any justice, he’d have scored and been named man of the match. It was a totally token and empty gesture to name Fraser as man of the moment, and I’d be the first to say if it wasn’t.

I’ve only a few issues with Aberdeen’s performance, unfortunately they’re major ones.

Firstly, the negativity.

Why not go all-out against a team that’s odds-on to beat you, either narrowly or by a large margin? You’ve nothing to lose going toe-to-toe, man-marking and getting right in their faces. When up against a team of Celtic’s stature, you really should fight fire with fire. Hell, you might even get a point for your troubles.

Secondly, and tactically, height advantages.

Why pit Fraser or Hayes against players they can’t beat in a clash of heads, when your only tactic is to lump the ball forward? You’ve only begun to combat this when you put on players like Vernon and Fallon. A pity they were useless.

Finally, I must talk of skill, and this is in the ‘simple’ department. Why try to beat players, and Magennis comes to mind, when you dribble and punt the ball three feet away from you every time?  A toddler does that when they try to pick up a ball, but can’t because their feet are in the way!

Oct 292012

After it ended a goal apiece at Tannadice last weekend, I dare say it was assumed by a fair number of Dons fans that a thrashing of United’s ‘inferior’ neighbours was imminent. However, the Dens Park side have avoided Pittodrie defeat since October 1993, when Dons legend Duncan Shearer scored the winner. Perhaps a home victory was not so inevitable after all? Andrew Watson reports.

Aberdeen were quick off the mark, and a rampant Fraser was displaying a forward-thinking bloodlust not seen in an Aberdeen attack for a long time.

Vernon seemingly had the cheek to criticise the wee man’s delivery after fluffing an excellent chance to put his side ahead early on.

The opening goal, when it came, was partly thanks to a deliberate fluff by Vernon.

After receiving, again from Fraser, the Englishman dummied the ball and allowed Irishman Niall McGinn to fire the ball into the roof of the net. Heard the one about the Scotsman, Englishman and Irishman?

1-0, after fourteen minutes. Ha ha ha!

Jokes aside, this really should have been a demolition job in the first half. Chance after chance came, and Dundee were lucky to hold on to even the remotest of chances of staying in the game. It should have been well out of reach for them by the break, with an ebullient Aberdeen, prey in sight, knocking the ball into their opponent’s box for fun.

Come the second half, there appeared to be a change of tack by Dundee. They were determined, disciplined and even began to get behind the Dons defence for the first time. Admittedly, Aberdeen were the better side, though it couldn’t quite yet be taken for granted that a victory would come their way.

Then a rather peculiar thing happened. An absolutely awful free kick by substitute Jonny Hayes, on for Clark after 65 minutes, unlocked a dithering Dundee defence at the 74 minute mark. A low shot, hit with little power, ended up in the back of the net. Without exactly setting the heather alight, Hayes proved his worth and raised realistic hopes of a comfortable home victory.


Not much of note to report after that. A perfectly legitimate consolation goal for Dundee, which was disallowed, was about it, to be honest.

Final score: 2-0.

There appear to be murmurs of a title challenge for Celtic, in the form of this current Aberdeen side. Undoubtedly they have one of the stronger squads outside Parkhead, if not the strongest.

With St. Mirren in the League Cup quarter finals on Tuesday night, chances of some silverware seem higher than usual. No Aberdeen fan wants to jinx perfectly realistic ambitions, though most surely salivate at the thought of reaching at least one semi-final this season.

Wait, scrap that. Make that one final this season. Maybe they’ll be drawn against ‘Rangers’ at some point, too. A victory at Ibrox, a cup paraded on an open-top bus down Union Street…

Second place in the league. Really?

When you’ve got a good thing going, perhaps being too ambitious is a recipe for disaster. Modesty, never underestimating your opponent, and application are key!

Sep 302012

Andrew Watson celebrates a victory at Pittodrie.

I was still devouring my Smarties cookie ( not courtesy of Todder’s rip-off refreshments counter … my pal, meanwhile, mid-bite, had a Pittodrie Pie in his moo – watch out, Angus!), having barely sat down, when Aberdeen opened the scoring against vistors Hibernian.

Vernon, fresh from proving his worth as ‘super sub’ with a late winner at East End Park in the League Cup earlier this week, sensed blood; looking set to beat the keeper – and was thwarted.  But not to worry, Niall McGinn slotted home the rebound!

1-0 …

… sorry, still rustling my sweetie wrappers!

As an aside to the proceedings, and having returned to the Merkland Stand after a one game stint in the Dick Donald monolith, the atmosphere on our patch was loud.

Kids!  At least they do you proud, chanting in remarkably broad Doric (as if the chest couldn’t heave heartily enough), “Aberdeen!” as fervently as the Kincorth youth used to – apparently – extol the virtues of the Labour Party on the streets at election time (the SNP sensing, over the course of time, that support for independence was improving as the stones thrown their way got smaller).

Hopefully their dedication, as young troops of the Red Army, wills on the weary legs of our industrious young midfield maverick Fraser, who took the sort of hiding you’d expect to result in a straight red card.

Ah well, yellow better than nothing.  Needless to say, that very challenge was probably the reason for Fraser’s second half exit, replaced by Irishman Magennis after fifty-four minutes.

However, having managed to restrict my naming of Motherwell players to just one famous son last weekend, an earlier instance, in the thirty-third minute, necessitates a mention for one particular Hibee.

Striker Eoin Doyle’s goal, hammered into the net from twenty-two yards catching goalkeeping League Cup hero Langfield unawares, courtesy of a deft turn that left Reynolds in the shade of the South Stand, is something to behold.  You might catch it on the BBC website, if you’re … ahem … sadomasochistic enough to want to watch it!


Some tense stuff, at both ends, before the end of the first, and commencement of the second, half.

About fourteen minutes into the last forty-five, with Fraser swapped for Magennis, Aberdeen were now pressing for a second, decisive goal.

The added physical bulk (as tough a mite midfielder Fraser is) in the last third was hopefully going to be the difference between half-chances and a winning goal.  Ideally ‘goals’ plural – but hey, we’ll take anything at this point!

After some hard work, and some hairy moments in the ‘wrong’ half, Magennis unlocked a  besieged, but stubborn Hibs defence with a low cross scrambled into the net by Gavin Rae after seventy-one minutes.


A subsequent substitution for the Hibees five minutes later also threatened to make an impact upon the score-line, again in the ‘wrong’ half!

Reynolds, at fault for Doyle’s super strike, caught wasting time claiming offside, redeemed himself with a fine goal line clearance – Langfield having been already beaten.

The welcome return of midfielder Milsom, in for Vernon at the ninetieth minute, added padding to the middle of the park, stifling Hibs in typical Aberdeen fashion.  That being not very well, sometimes!

Credit where credit’s due, the backline of Anderson, Reynolds, Jack and – I can’t believe I’m saying this – Considine, availed themselves for the majority of the game.

However Langfield, at one point totally exposed by lax marking, must have counted his, albeit mixed, blessings when a Hibs ‘hotshot’ proceeded to blooter the ball well over the bar. Rugby, anyone?”

Final score:  2-1.

So, Craig Brown has achieved a winning display at home.  Unusually enough, a home win has proven more elusive than an away win with points taken from St Johnstone a few weeks earlier.  We did it!

One can’t help but feel – how shall we put it – guarded optimism about this team and the season ahead.  Hopefully a League, or Scottish, Cup Final?  The tenacity is there to progress and winning ugly seems to me, on the whole, to be a good sign.  Hopefully, moreover, we’ll get some silverware?

Second place in the league, too?

Definitely getting ahead of myself!