Jan 282017

By Red Fin Hall.

It was a return to league business today, and a relatively short trip north for the visitors tonight. 
These Friday evening games have proven popular, and for a change, the powers that reschedule these games have been sensible in having Dundee the opposition, rather than Motherwell, Hamilton or some other further away club; making it easy for travelling fans is not normally in the remit of the television companies.

The team line-up remained unchanged with somewhat controversial new loan signing, Ryan Christie on the bench.

The strong Dons’ team were looking to win 5 on the bounce on this gine but cold evening.

Approximately 11,000 fans saw Graeme Shinnie get the first strong tackle of the game a mere three minutes into the game.

A minute later good linking play involving Andrew Considine and Niall McGinn with the final ball just your far ahead of Jonny Hayes.

Dundee counter attacked and a good ball into Aberdeen goal mouth, for the first shot on target for the visitors, was safely held by Joe Lewis, the ever-present in the Aberdeen goal.

The Dons were taking some time to settle, with Dundee harassing them and, at this point, their number 33, Craig Wighton, looking sharp. They won a free kick around 4 yards out from the edge of the Aberdeen box, but it came to naught. Then in the 10th minute captain Paul McGowan chipped a ball off the crossbar.

A couple of minutes later the home team were awarded their first free kick of the game by referee Kevin Clancy, when Hayes was bundle off the ball.

Aberdeen had their first real chance on the quarter of an hour mark, when McGinn placed a corner kick perfectly into the goal area, but Mark Reynolds, up from defence, headed it just wide.

Another corner kick was far too long for anybody to get on the end of. Their next corner was won when a McGinn shot was turned over the by-line.

Dundee then broke upfield and on the 21st minute had a goal chalked off for offside. The Dons by this time had started to dominate the game and a long pass from Ash Taylor which defender Julen Extabeguren got his head to, fell to McGinn who’s chip shot went just over.

Keeping the pressure up, a free kick was awarded when Adam Rooney was fouled, and the effort, again from McGinn, was tipped over by ex Don Scott Bain.

The breakthrough came around the 29th minute, whith good  work  by Hayes and McGinn, with the   latter putting in a superb ball to find Captain Ryan Jack rising through middle of the defending pack, to header home.


Before you could draw breath, another cross in from McGinn was cut out by in form Bain as Shay Logan was running in.  Logan was then the perpetrator of the next move, when he executed a superb cross from the right wing, which was defended well by Extabeguren.

Taylor and Rooney were the next Dons to have an exchange of play, setting up Kenny McLean, who seems to relish slightly forward p,aging position. His close angle effort was saved though.

With only 6 minutes left of the first half, Dundee got their first corner.

The ever-determined Shinnie then slipped a great pass to McGinn, but the only reward for the move was another corner.

The referee then deemed Hayes had fouled a Dundee player after the Aberdeen man had ran 25 yards to knock the ball off the feet of the man. A ridiculous decision if ever there was one.

Aberdeen were searching for the second goal, and chip from Taylor from 30 yards out was deflected of off Kosta Gadzhalov and into the Dundee stopper’s arms. 

The potential goal of the month came next. Just on half time, a ball into the Dundee box was met by the rejuvenated Taylor, who rose above the defenders and headed the ball back to the oncoming McGinn who majestically volleyed into the net to rapturous salutations from fans and team mates alike.


Both teams started the second half without making any changes and Aberdeen kicked off towards the home end.

The referee seemed intent in making some baffling decision; this time penalising Shinnie as he stopped the ball just before it reached the feet of an opposition player.

Nine minutes into this half, a free kick taken by McGinn from around 40 yards out, went straight across the front of the goal with no takers.

With 58 minutes elapsed, McLean picked up the ball up and ran swiftly in towards the goal, but his shot was turned round for a corner. McGinn, on top form was tackled as he made yet another goalward run.

At this point Dundee, despite being a much poorer quality team than the hosts, were still trying to create something instead of just playing spoiling football. But the quality isn’t there, especially after losing their top two goal scorers during the summer. Manager, ex-Dons Captain Paul Hartley, was possibly staging a protest against the board by only naming 5 subs to sit on the bench.

After the first booking for Dundee, for a foul on McGinn, his free kick was headed just wide by Rooney.

There then followed a period of scrappy play by both sides, brightened only by Hayes making a fabulous, pacy run into the area, only to have his close range shot saved by the in form Bain.

Shinnie found his way into the referee’s book for persistent fouling with just over 15 minutes left to play.

Dundee were the first team to make a substitution when Faissal el Bakhtaoui replaced Extagabeguren. This substitute for the visitors, changed their style of play, as they swamped the midfield making it harder for Aberdeen to break them down. You got the impression Hartley was now just trying to keep the score somewhat respectable.

With 10 minutes left, the crowd were baying for a free kick as Hayes tumbled to the ground, but, for a change, I believe the man in the middle made the correct decision. It looked like shoulder to shoulder to my eyes.

A minute later, the same man picked up the ball on the left, and fired in great ball. The head of McGinn made perfect contact with it and steered in into the back of the net for his second goal of the night, and his team’s third.


That’s 4 goals in two games for the Northern Irish International player. If he keeps this form up, and he refuses to sign a new contract, he should be a rather fine, free investment for some club south of the border.

Aberdeen then made their first change of the evening, with Hayes departing the field, and Ryan Christie coming on to a generally warm welcome.

The final 10 minutes saw Rooney, who wasn’t on his sharpest form tonight, being taken off and Miles Storey coming on. Then, two goal hero McGinn was replaced by Scott Wright.

The changes didn’t alter anything, and the latter pair didn’t really have enough time or opportunity to create anything, although Storey looked lively.

After the 3 minutes of allocated stoppage time had passed, the referee blew the final whistle, and another satisfactory victory for Aberdeen was gained to move them, at least until tomorrow mid afternoon, back into second place.

Final Score: 3-0

Aberdeen now face a tough away match against runaway league leaders Celtic on Wednesday before returning to Pittodrie next Saturday afternoon when Partick Thistle will be the visitors. 

  • Comments enabled – see comments box below. Note, all comments will be moderated.
Jan 222017

By Red Fin Hall.

It seems like ages since a ball has been kicked in anger by AFC.

It was a welcome return to Pittodrie for the continuation of the football season, with lower league Stranraer the opposition for only the 5th time in both teams’ long history.

It’s the first home Scottish Cup tie since Dumbarton visited the North East in March 2014.

The Dons fielded their preferred and strongest line up, with James Maddison having returned to his parent club, Norwich, and intended loan signing, Stevie May, not yet in situ.

From the kick off, Niall McGinn went up field and had his first shot towards the visitor’s goal. Aberdeen were awarded their first corner, created by Adam Rooney, but Andrew Considine’s strong header went over the crossbar.
Five minutes into the game, number 33 for the visitors, Willie Gibson had a shot, if one can call it that, easily held by Joe Lewis.

In the 7th minute, a pass by captain Ryan Jack over to the left found Jonny Hayes, who in turn passed to McGinn, whose shot was well saved keeper. Two minutes later the same man had a weak shot from 30 yards out.

Ash Taylor, comfortable in the centre of defence since regaining his place from Anthony O’Connor, executed a perfect long pass down the right finding McGinn. His poor touch fell to Hayes, who continued the move, finding Considine who had found his way forward from left back. The move ended there though. The Dons needed to settle down and show their obvious superiority.

The two players under the speculation of transfer rumours, McGinn and Hayes, were on their best form and causing problems everyone they were on the ball. The latter, looking to be worth much more than the derisory 1/2 million pounds Cardiff offered for him, laying on another chance for the former, but Kenny Mclean was a bit too keen and sort of got in the way preventing him being able to pull off a clean shot.

Just after that McGinn audaciously tried to chip the keeper from 50 yards out. But Belford was able to get underneath the ball and hold it.

Twenty one minutes in saw Hayes fouled, but referee Don Robertson played advantage. Hayes found Shay Logan, who put the ball into the goal area, but neither Rooney nor any other player in red, was able to find the net for the opening goal.

Kenny McLean was the next to have a shot, but it was stopped by the keeper. McGinn was the provider this time, as he executed a great pass to Logan; he beat the offside trap but defender, Liam Dick, got his foot in to prevent the opener.

Stranraer were awarded a free kick on 28 minutes, when Graeme Shinnie brought down Willie Gibson, who took the free kick himself. It came to naught and the ball fell to the ever willing Hayes who broke upfield, put a perfect ball in for Adam Rooney to get on the end of and fire into the net to claim that much anticipated first goal for the Dons. 

This brought his total for the club to 69, making him the top scorer for Aberdeen this century. One more that Darren Mackie: but over a shorter period.


The Dons were intent on keeping the pressure up, with Considine having too chances within a minute of each other. Both just off target. In the 34th minute, the lead was extended when McGinn picked up the ball just inside the opposition’s half, and he had only one thought in mind as he ran up the left side if the pitch.

He made short change of the two defenders in his way, and with the keeper closing in, hammered the ball past him and into the goal.


If anyone thought they were going to sit on their laurels until halftime, they were mistaken as Hayes was the next to have a shot, but his effort went straight across the front of the goalmouth.

With only ten minutes left in the action-packed first half, Aberdeen were awarded a free kick which came to nothing.  Moments later though, Mark Reynolds found Rooney with a superb ball from just outside the box. The ball was heading into the bottom left corner, but the on form keeper for the away team deftly turned it out for a corner.

Hayes had another chance just before half time, but he totally skyed it

Half time: 2-0

No changes were made by either side at the start often the second half, and three minutes into the half, Shinnie had a shot that the keeper couldn’t hold, but managed to keep it out anyway.

The third goal wasn’t long in coming. During a scramble in the visitors’ box, the referee spotted a deliberate hand ball by Morgyn Neill and pointed to the spot. Needless to say, Rooney stepped up, and despite the keeper guessing the right way, the Irish striker made no mistake and scored his 2nd and Aberdeen’s 3rd of the game.


Both Hayes and Shinnie showed next that they weren’t shot shy, but Belford was having a good game. He also denied Logan a goal.

Five minutes later, McGinn got his second goal to make the score much a more plausible 4-0. This came as the result of team work with Considine, Shinnie, who did well to hold off Gibson, and Ryan Jack, before McGinn joined Rooney in being the first two players to score goals in four competitions in one season since 93/94.


Stranraer made their first substitution with Kyle Turner replacing David Barron.

On the 61 minute mark, McGinn fired in another attempt from the left side at an angle, but only managed to win yet another corner. A few minutes after that Aberdeen made their first change of the day with Hayes departing the field and Peter Pawlett replacing him.

At the same time, managerless Stranraer took Mark McGuigan off and put on David Wilson.

The visitors must take credit for not sitting back and playing a defensive game. Their substitutes had the desired effect of tightening up their midfield, whereas Pawlett seemed to take a wee bit longer to settle. The men from the borders made their final substitution soon after with Guiliano Morena coming on and Ryan Thomson going off.

The Dons meanwhile replaced Considine with youngster, Scott Wright. The effect of this was noticeable as Wright showed his keenness and pace by taking the ball swiftly and fearlessly towards the opposition goal.

Rooney was trying hard to get his hat trick, and he was very unlucky not to get it, when, the ball just refused to cross the line.

Another of Aberdeen’s youth players, a Frank Ross, came on to replace McKean in the midfield. Here was another young man showing that this big occasion held no fear for him.

There wasn’t over much time for him to do anything as the referee blew the whistle for full time with no stoppage time added.

All in all a thoroughly professional performance by the lads. Hopefully the same thing can be done on Friday evening when Dundee, albeit a tougher proposition make the trip north.

Final score: Aberdeen 4 Stranraer 0

  • Comments enabled – see comments box below. Note, all comments will be moderated.
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.

  • Comments enabled – see comments box below. Note, all comments will be moderated.
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.

  • Comments enabled – see comments box below. Note, all comments will be moderated.
Dec 162016

Stephen McCormick recently quit his role as AFC display organiser describing the club as “impossible to deal with.”

By Red Fin Hall.

Recently I wrote about the situation regarding the lack of respect and communication between Aberdeen Football Club, The Supporter’s Liaison Officer within the club, and fans/supporters trying to create a better atmosphere at games via displays etc.

It appears that in some cases they, or more factually correct, people within the club, have, at some point, been actively trying to discourage said displays.

To this end a group of supporters have written an open letter to the board of the club emphasising the need for better communication and co-operation with the supporters. The fans keep getting told, “You are the 13th man.”

Feelings within the supporters at large, is that there is not much confidence that this is true. Even with the prospect of a new stadium coming, Mr Milne only said that there: ‘may be a standing area built within Kingsford’ – not that there would definitely be one. Also there was still no mention of the possibility of there being a bar within, and not just one for the corporate guests, but a public one.

There seems, at this moment in time, a lesser dialogue between the club and the fans than perhaps is perceived.

Below is the open letter.

Dear Duncan George & Stewart

We are writing this to you regarding matters this season and seasons past involving, failure on part of AFC to adequately engage with Aberdeen supporters, treatment of Aberdeen Supporters and in more detail treatment of those in the Merkland Singing Section.

Issues such as, but are not limited to the following areas:

–    A reply to questions put to AFC as to why AFC were contacting other clubs in Scotland attempting to discourage match day supporter displays.

–   Why the club lied at recent AGM telling the floor they had been in contact with those responsible for the stunning League Cup Final display at Hampden and thanking them when this simply isn’t the case .

–    Appointinment of Community Trust chief executive as SLO just to appease UEFA competition guidelines.

–    Appointment of a Supporters Liaison Officer (SLO) into the Club without consultation with Supporters groups / Supporters Trust or wider fan base etc

–    Failure of said SLO to engage with supporters groups on a day-to-day basis in order to facilitate a more enjoyable and effective match day experience

–    Failure of said SLO to engage with supporters groups for major games and to facilitate smooth access to Pittodrie and other stadia to be visited

–    Failure of SLO to engage positively with Supporters groups and other clubs in order to facilitate a coordinated and organized approach to maximizing noise generation and fan displays at away games

–    Actively and physically segregating, pressurizing and marginalizing of fans in the Merkland Singing section from other fans through use of hostile stewarding, “dead zone” seating strips and general poor attitude shown towards supporters wishing to support their team in a positive manner.

–    Misleading information regarding occupancy of Merkland block seating in order to undermine the success of the initiative and prevention of other fans joining the section throughout the game.

–    Failure to plan effectively for League Cup Final to ensure effective noise generation in order to back the team effectively by refusing to allocate area for vocal fans .

–    Failure of AFC across internal departments (General management, Stadium Access, Ticketing, security etc in order to facilitate an organized and structured and most importantly a respectful approach to AFC supporting individuals working on an unpaid  volunteer basis in order to encourage the team positively and to enhance the matchday experience for many people.

The recent League Cup Final showed that AFC has little regard to its fans wider match day experience and even less for creating a spectacle and that the Cup final atmosphere would “look after itself” as one AFC official was quoted as saying.

Anyone who witnessed the Cup final was that those that made the effort and expense of travelling to Glasgow to set up the pre match display done a fantastic effort given that there was no input nor even the respect of reply from AFC from requests from fans made to make the day a spectacle and an positive atmosphere for the duration of the match.

The lack of Aberdeen supporter positive atmosphere generation, particularly after going a goal down (and then more) was very evident.Had there been an area for vocal fans this could have helped create a louder backing for the team.

No doubt AFC will be using footage and photography from the matches with flags, card displays etc for future marketing material, all the while actively discouraging it and disregarding the fact that positive fan interaction does make a difference to the team on the park is wholly unacceptable.

We request the following:

–    AFC immediately engage with their staff & AFC fans representatives in order to stop these negative aspects reoccurring
–    Appoint a fan elected SLO – one that has a wide understanding or proven background in match day supporter participation, supporter liaison, match day display management.
–    Empower the SLO to form a positive working relationship with the Aberdeen support and other clubs respective SLO’s to ensure that the team, the supporters (the customers) are all given the correct priority support to ensure forward progress is made on all levels.
–    Ensure that the SLO is meeting the reasonable expectations of the Club, AFC support and wider regulatory bodies such as the Police and other Football Clubs etc.
–    The SLO is active in meeting with AFC fans to gather detailed information on future stadia requirements from the “in game” perspective.

We have a supporter in mind, someone who has engaged with the support and more importantly is respected by the support .The same fan has put on many a spectacle at Aberdeen FC games at home and away for the best part of 20 years .He has organised some of the best displays in the UK, helped add colour to AFC centenary events.Always paid tribute to fans who have sadly passed. He is great with the kids and young fans and always gets them involved .

The fans trust him and he’s known throughout the support as he’s always present .

We have a petition that hundreds of fans have signed asking that the club appoint Stephen McCormick as our Supporters Liaison Officer. With the amount of work he has done over the years, dealing with clubs up and down the country, having to deal with the SFA and SPFL he has already proven he has a vast knowledge of modern day football and its supporters.

We look forward to hearing from you in due course.


Dons fans voice collective.

Also, in my last article regarding this, I mentioned that Stephen contributed out of his own pocket. It has since been pointed out to me that the displays have been fully funded by fan contribution. He is the organiser, and has only contributed as a fan. He wished this to be clear.

  • Comments enabled – see comments box below. Note, all comments will be moderated.
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.

  • Comments enabled – see comments box below. Note, all comments will be moderated.
Dec 072016

dons-stjohnstone-pittodrieBy Red Fin Hall.

League business returned to Pittodrie on a wet and dismal

8,195 supporters turned up, most of whom were hoping to see a vast improvement in the performances of the last two games.

There were a couple of changes in the lineup, with Peter Pawlett making his first start for ages, and Niall McGinn also starting the game.

The Dons started off very sharp as within the first couple of minutes, first Graeme Shinnie then Jonny Hayes breaking down the left wing, and the home team winning three free kicks and a corner in the first 8 minutes. The visitors were giving a reasonable account of themselves, with a couple weeks of attacks , around ten minutes.

All this changed in twenty minutes, with Aberdeen in control, Shinnie hit a sweet shot from just outside the box, a shot that keeper Jamie Mac Donald may have managed to get a hand to were it not for Pawlett sticking out a foot and deflecting the ball past him and into the net.


The Dons were playing some bonny stuff and playing it with confidence, epitomised when McGinn received a fine ball from Adam Rooney, but its acute angle shot was cut out by the Killie defence .

With 25 minutes gone, referee Stephen Finnie booked James Maddison for diving right on the edge of the Kille box. There seemed to be no argument from the young man.

Number 16, Pawlett, was repaying his manager’s faith in giving him a start, by putting his fast and tricky style to good use, making the Killie players work hard.

There followed a claim for a penalty when a Shay Logan touch came off the hand of a defender. It would have been a soft one if it had been given.

Keeping the pressure up, a Pawlett shot was knocked in at the back post by Anthony O’Connor for Aberdeen’s second goal in the 30th minute. It was also his second for the club.


Killie weren’t lying down, and a long shot in was easily cleared by O’Connor. There followed a great solo run by Hayes, after a pass from AdamRooney, when he cut past the Ayrshire men’s defence and slotted the ball in at a tight, low angle at the near post. So with five minutes left of the first half it was 3-0 – and deservedly so.

The Dons were still trying to score more, with a Maddison shot, after a pass from Hayes, going well over. Aberdeen’s second yellow card was given to Andrew Considine for delivery obstruction. The team as a whole was showing more fight and strength than they did in the last couple of games.

Just before the break Rooney was tripped while heading for goal, but the ref waved play on.

Half time: 3-0

Kilmarnock made two substitutions at the start of the second half when Iain Wilson replaced Jordan Jones and Nathan Tyson coming on for Adam Frizzell.

Five minutes into the second half Aberdeen carried on where they left off before the break, when McGinn shot over from the right side. The fans were certainly enjoying the display that the players were giving.

McLean escaped a booking for speaking out of turn after Killie were awarded a free kick in their own goalmouth. He instead was given a long and stern talking too. Pawlett had to go off for a minute at this incident due to taking my a knock.

Derek McInnes decided to take off Maddison and replace him with Mark Reynolds in the 54th minute.

McGinn set off on a cross field run, he passed the ball to Hayes who was coming in from the left. His shot was easily dealt with. The midfield were linking well, with McGinn back to his best, exemplified by another good cross from the left just to high for Pawlett, and cleared by the Killie defence.

Kenny McLean is more involved than in previous games.

63 minutes in, a corner was taken by McGinn who controlled the return ball wonderfully, but woefully skied the ball over. A few moments later, Logan fed a long cross field pass to Rooney whose first touch was classy. Sadly his second touch was not.

In the 67th minute a fine flick on header from Considine to McGinn only ended up with Killie making a break away, but the finishing shot by Tyson was well over.

McGinn added a well deserved fourth goal when his left footed shot went in at the right corner.


Pawlett was the next player to be substituted when he was replaced by Wes Burns. The substitute picked the ball up in his own half and runs into the opposition goal mouth, passes to McGinn, whose shot went over. Kilmarnock made their final change when Charlie Adams came on for Souleymane Coulibaly.

Rooney then beat the offside trap and tried to chip the keeper, but is was well saved for another corner to the home club.

The visitors got a consolation goal when, in the 77th minute, McKenzie, with an assist from Tyson, put the ball past Joe Lewis.


Rooney became the last change for Aberdeen, when Jayden Stockley replaced him.

With 10 minutes to go, Reynolds conceded a soft foul on the edge of his own box, but the resultant free kick came to nothing.

The Dons were not sitting back, and were trying to get a fifth goal. This came along with just a few minutes left to play, when after more good play from the Dons, was finished off by Hayes when he nipped in front of the keeper for his second of the evening. Needless to say he was named Man Of The Match, although nobody could argue if several others were given the title.

The one minute stoppage time awarded was of little consequence, and when the final whistle did blow, Aberdeen moved back up to third place in the league on goal difference over Hearts.

A deluge of rain and a deluge of goals under floodlights. Scottish Football as it should be.

Final score: 5-1

Next game, at home to St Johnstone, Sat 10-12-16.

  • Comments enabled – see comments box below. Note, all comments will be moderated.
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.

  • Comments enabled – see comments box below. Note, all comments will be moderated.
Nov 282016

img_4847By Red Fin Hall.

A visit to Hampden for  Aberdeen’s second league cup final appearance in two years, after winning it in 2014 at Celtic Park.

The current holders, Ross County, have only held the trophy for 8 months, due to the changes to format the SPFL introduced.

Despite most people thinking Aberdeen would start with the same winning line up, with maybe Niall McGinn in for Jayden Stockley, the manager surprised us all yet again as he left both of the aforementioned players on the bench, and gave young James Maddison his first start against Celtic.

As the teams ran out onto the pitch to tumultuous applause, the players were greeted by a spectacular display from both sets of fans. The Celtic fans’ one was predominantly green and white cards with the number 100 in the middle representing the 100th trophy the hoped to win, whilst the Aberdeen display was made up of alternate red and silver foil flags, arranged as usual by Stephen ‘Mezzanine’.

Celtic kicked off and immediately started they way they meant to go on, by keeping possession and bossing the game. In 3 minutes they were awarded the first free kick of the game which Jack conceded.

Celtic continued having control of the game for the first 7 minutes, with James Forrest claiming a penalty when he slipped on the wet pitch as Shay Logan challenged and cleared the ball.

Moments later Aberdeen were awarded their first foul when, in a rare moment of having the ball, Kenny McLean was fouled, only to relinquish the ball straight away.

In the 8th minute Jonny Hayes broke down the right side and managed to win a throw in. A very poor ball thrown by Logan gave the Glasgow club the ball back.

Minute 11, a great ball through from the ever willing James Maddison was just too long for Adam Rooney.

In the twelfth minute a Joe Lewis pulled of the first save of the match in Celtic’s first attack. A mere minute later Maddison was fouled just outside the box, but the resultant free kick was totally wasted by Kenny McLean.

The Don’s were getting a wee bit more into the game when a Maddison shot was well blocked by the defence. Celtic went straight into attack mode, and, in the 16th minute, number 18, Tom Rogic scored after after working his way easily through the Aberdeen defence.


On 18 minutes, Maddison was brought down yet again, and his free kick made Craig Gordon pull off a decent save. Then, Anthony O’Connor was easily robbed of the ball, sending the Hoops off on another attack, which was cleared up by Ash Taylor.

With 20 minutes gone, Aberdeen were finding it hard to get any purchase of the game. Maddison was the victim of yet another two consecutive fouls, with Scott Brown being the perpetrator of the second one. Yet again this came to naught.

cup2a The first corner of the game came in the 27th minute of the game for Celtic, who are well in control. Hayes meanwhile is barely getting on the ball, and in the 31st minute he was heavily bagged in the back, but no booking was forthcoming. Celtic are fouling Aberdeen all over the pitch.

The Dons comfortably break up another attack, but Hayes’ effort was easily held by their keeper. Aberdeen were not utilising the wide open spaces of the National Stadium.

Forrest, at this juncture, found the Aberdeen midfield posted missing again as he ran past them all and put the all easily past Lewis for the second goal.


The Dons’ first corner of the match came to nothing, and when the ball found its way back to Taylor who proceeded to punt the ball forward into an empty space.

The Dons weren’t lying down though, and in the 41st minute a neat pass from Maddison found Rooney. But, summing up the way the game was going, he skyed the ball well over the bar.

The third corner of the game was awarded to Aberdeen. A decent ball in found Andrew Considine, but his header went straight into Gordon’s arms. Another free kick was given to the men in red, this time in the centre circle, was well worked into the danger area, but the defenders were it in the slightest troubled.

Bang on 45, the half time whistle blew, with the second best team in Scotland by far the second best team in the park.

Half time: 0-2

AFC returned to the pitch first after the break with no changes to the line up. Celtic followed, likewise unchanged.

The Dons kicked off attacking towards their own fans. Whatever the manager had said in the dressing room, seemed to have worked as they were looking a but more positive.

Barely two minutes had passed when when Scott Brown became the first player to be booked for a cynical foul on Maddison, who kept trying to create something. But the fact is, that playing both him and McLean in midfield wasn’t working.

The pattern continued when another free kick by the men from the North East, nearly fell to Rooney. Then Maddison was not in quick enough to collect a ball from the Irish international.

The second half was looking better and it appeared that Aberdeen finally wakened up  to the fact that they were here for a reason. The Don’s had another corner given, but Maddison was carelessly caught offside.

Just as they were getting into the game, O’Connor conceded a penalty

With 57 minutes gone, Celtic had their first real attack of the half, but it petered out.

As the Dons pushed forward after a McLean free kick, an attempt from O’Connnor went right across the front of the goal. Another opportunity gone a-begging.

Although they were the better team overall, Celtic knew they had a game on now, and when a Celtic player handled the ball in the Aberdeen goal area, they were given yet another free kick.

Young Maddison was still involved in most things, and the team were making more use of the full pitch, but still not enough. The seemed reluctant to try and get down the wings and try and get beyond the Celtic defence.

Just as they were getting into the game, O’Connor conceded a penalty, by bringing down Forrest.

Moussa Dembélé stepped up to score their third goal, and his fourth of the competition, thus putting the cup well out of Aberdeen’s reach.


O’Connor was immediately substituted to be replace by Stockley. Celtic likewise decided to make a change too, with Patrick Roberts leaving the field, and Nir Bitton coming on. Stockley was keen to get involved in things straight away, and a pass to Rooney was received well, but the soft shot in from the latter went right into the Celtic keeper’s hands.

Celtic got a corner in the 66th minute.

Aberdeen attacked again, when great running by Hayes, a rare occurrence this afternoon, was spoilt as, under little or no pressure, he ran the ball hopelessly over the by-line.

Manager, Derek McInnes, showed we was not at all pleased by this error, as he decided to take Hayes off and put McGinn on.

A second yellow card was issued to a Celtic player for yet another foul on Maddison. The shocking free kick went straight to the keeper.

The Dons kept trying but to no avail. The fans kept getting behind the team and the singing continued. In saying that, the team leading the match weren’t resting on their laurels, and were keen to get goal number 4.

Two more substitutions were made. First in the 76th minute when Rogic was replaced by Calum McGregor, then in the 78th when Rooney came off and Wes Burns went on.

Another Aberdeen free kick was wasted, much to the frustration of the fans, as McGinn was offside when he received the ball

The action continued when in the 80th minute Celtic caused more problems for Aberdeen, but Taylor, who was having a decent game, put the ball out for a corner. Up at the other end of the park, a poor ball from Burns, meant for Stockley, was easily intercepted by Gordon.

On 90 minutes, man of the match, Forrest came off to great applause from the victorious supporters, and Leigh Griffiths entered the arena.

With only 3 minutes left, good  play and a shot at goal by Maddison, but again, it was routine for the keeper to hold it.

Although 3 minutes stoppage time was awarded, nothing much happened within that time, as the Celtic fans celebrated noisily, and the Aberdeen fans were already making their way out of the stadium.

When the final whistle blew and the referee indicated that the game was officially over, although from an Aberdeen point of view it was well over about 35 minutes before that.

niall-mcginn-cup-finalThe dream of a second trophy in 3 seasons lay shattered and in shreds, much like the remnants of silver and red foil flags which lay on the steps and floor of Hampden Park.

They say ‘money can’t buy love’, but that was proven wrong today when money bought the love of the Celtic Fans – money that bought the players that other teams in Scotland cannot, even remotely, afford. This is proven as Celtic have now gone nine games since a team from Scotland has managed to score a goal against them.
Full time: 0-3

Footnote: The match finished at 16.48pm. Due to the ridiculous situation of The National Stadium, we didn’t manage to leave the vicinity of Glasgow until 18.50pm. Two hours. Ridiculous.

Oct 302016

image1By Red Fin Hall.

A plague on the powers that be for these lunchtime kick offs. They seem to be getting earlier and earlier. 

The league cup semi-final last week was 12.15pm; this game was scheduled for 1200. What next? breakfast time?

Aberdeen lined up without Adam Rooney and James Madison who were on the bench, much to the mystification of the fans, although it was good to see captain, Ryan Jack back.

The manager was obviously looking go stifle Celtic. 

Two minutes in Jonny Hayes stole the ball and broke upfield but was fouled. The free kick only resulted in Celtic breaking upfield. 

In the 7th minute Hayes went down injured, but recovered to carry on. A couple of minutes later Niall McGinn tried to get forward, but Celtic were too strong for the Northern Irishman.

Next, Andrew Considine, concedes a foul on the edge of the box. Even this early, referee Steven McLean, seems intent on not letting the game flow. 

Back up in the Celtic box, a great interception from McGinn forces a corner for the home team. The short corner was totally wasted.

As the Dons pushed forward, a strange offside decision was given as McGinn passed the ball forward, then ran onto it himself. At this point it was relatively end to end, fairly entertaining stuff.

In the 24th minute a poor clearance from Shay Logan, falls to Tom Rogic, who fires the ball into the net past Anthony O’Connor.


Three minutes later another Celtic attack is easily dealt with. Not long after that, a careless touch by Hayes, thankfully came to nought.

At this point, with a quarter of the game gone, the visitors were seeing a lot more of the ball; the Dons weren’t closing them down enough, with some slack play from some players, Kenny McLean being the prime culprit.

Some good interplay between Logan, Hayes and McGinn on the left side resulted in a decent ball into the box where Considine made contact, but his header went over the bar.

On the 41st minute, Hayes played a fine ball into the area where Jack got a touch, but it only ended up as a goal kick for the, so far, untroubled Craig Gordon.

Only one minute later the home team had their first shot on target when McGinn swept a good ball in, and that man Considine struck the ball well, causing Gordon to make his first save of the match.
The referee continued to be a tad picky, but ignored a claim for a hand ball by a Celtic player in the Aberdeen goal box and awarded a goal kick instead. Celtic were in possession as the first half ended.

Half time. 0-1.

No changes were made by both teams as the second half commenced, and Celtic continued in the same vein as the did before the break. As were The Dons, with poor passing and second to the ball on occasion. Five minutes in Graham Shinnie was booked for, what appeared to be an innocuous foul on a player in green and white.

With 7 minutes gone in the second 45, Derek McInnes made his now trademark move, but instigating a double substitution. Jack, just back from injury, was replaced on the field by Rooney, and McGinn saw on loan player, Maddison come on in his stead.

As the clocked ticked into the 11th minute of the half, McLean missed a ball meant for him, giving the opposition a chance of increasing their lead, but Joe Lewis brilliantly saved the shot from the dangerous Scott Sinclair.

A mere minute later Moussa Dembélé, for probably the first time in the match, was causing the Aberdeen defence problems.

Aberdeen then went forward. A neat touch by Maddison found Considine who crossed to Rooney, but his attempt at goal was off target.

With 16 second half minutes gone, Celts’ number 18, Rojic created another chance for the visitors, but the ball just went past.

Aberdeen then had possession of the ball, and Dons’ right back, Logan, dribbled the 3 or 4 players before bring tripped by Stuart Armstrong.

At this juncture it was fairly one-sided in Celtic’s favour, but the score remained the same. However, with Maddison on the field there was always a chance he could make something happen.

The Dons were causing slight problems for the Celtic defence, nothing too serious. The atmosphere at this point was quite subdued.

Dembélé showed some tricky foot work at the edge of the box, but the close proximity of the defence hampered his shot and another attack came to an end when he shot high over the bar.

A good clearance by O’Connor to Hayes on the left wing, but before he could set off, he was bundled to the ground. Another non -foul.

Considine was looking strong and ever willing.

On minute 33 of this half, there was a bit of a stramash around the half way line involving Scott Brown and Hayes, none of which were involved in the preceding foul. Brown ended up on his back on the ground. The referee handled the situation swiftly and properly, and the two players ended up going in the book and receiving a yellow card apiece, along with another Celtic player who’s foul started this situation.

Hayes took the resultant free kick, but totally wasted it by hooting it hopelessly past the by-line. Set pieces today were particularly woeful.

Not long after that there came one if the strangest clearances I have ever seen. Logan kicked the ball high into the South Stand for a Celtic throw in. It was so high it went through the open window of the T.V. gantry, missing the cameras a sound equipment therein.

Play carried on with a replacement ball and with only 7 minutes remaining of the game to play. Wes Burns, who had been pretty ineffectual, was taken off. He was replaced by Jayden Stockley.

The closing minutes had the home fans literally on their feet as the Dons pressed to get the equaliser, with Gordon at one point snatching the ball off the feet of Shinnie, Maddison taking a couple of free kicks from around the same spot he scored the winner from against The Rangers last month and a call for a handball as Aberdeen kept the pressure up.

The decision was made to add 5 minutes stoppage time. Maybe if there was 10 minutes extra they would have broken through, but the game ended with Aberdeen going down to their second 1-0 defeat in a row. This coming after having 6 victories in a row.

It looks like the tactics didn’t work out as McInnes had hoped, but despite the huge financial gap between the two clubs, the battle on the pitch was a lot more equal.

Many say Celtic could have had a few more goals, but they didn’t. Our defence coped well enough to help prevent that.

In a little under a month the teams meet again in the League Cup Final at Hampden; hopefully the outcome will be different.