Apr 202015

This New Firm derby developed into a fiery encounter with plenty more to talk about than the solitary goal, says Voice reporter Andrew Watson.

merklandandrewIt was a mild Saturday afternoon with a cool wind blowing, though not enough to drastically alter the play or nature of the game.

The visiting Tangerines haven’t been playing too well as of late, but the Reds could not, and did not underestimate their east coast adversaries.

I once said before, regarding a previous encounter between the Dons and Arabs, that if every player attacked the game with the same sense of urgency as Willo Flood, then it would’ve been an entirely different spectacle.

This time, however, his recent form didn’t suggest this would again be the case. His wayward passing of late has been particularly woeful. Passing sideways, passing backwards; forever negative.

Perhaps though, Flood versus Dundee United is akin to Eoin Jess versus Rangers; always turning it on against their most bitter of rivals.

Again, he was the proverbial bull in the china shop, launching into every tackle. And again, there were boos for him, and Barry Robson, from the away crowd for the duration.

However, it was only fair that he was, again, awarded Man of the Match in this particular tussle of a fixture.  His work ethic, again, almost singlehandedly propelled the Reds’ engine room in the centre of the park.

Despite this, it was striker Adam Rooney who grabbed the headlines after 39 minutes.

Captain Mark Reynolds exploited a lapse of concentration amongst the Tannadice back four and managed to put a ball across the box for Rooney to meet, and find the back of the net.

1-0 Aberdeen!

Rooney came close, but no cigar, in the second half, too; and although United weren’t remarkable it wasn’t all one way traffic.

They forced keeper Scott Brown into a couple of fine saves. His involvement increased after 71 minutes when Robson was sent off for a seemingly dubious elbow on United’s Charlie Telfer.

Ryan Jack came on the pitch four minutes later in place of Niall McGinn. The industrious Flood left the pitch as Donervorn Daniels was drafted in a minute after normal time.

Both switches were aimed to shore up the backline after losing such an influential figure in Robson. The game, more so after his dismissal, became frenetic and bad tempered.

This, I suppose, made the victory all the more gratifying. Okay, they’ve drawn out narrow one nil victories in the past, but rarely have they done so having been reduced to ten men.

Hopefully, they might make Celtic sweat in the race to the top of the table.

Final score:  1-0.

Feb 282013

With thanks to Dave Macdermid. 

Aberdeen Football Club has appointed a former Grampian Police Inspector as its new Head of Community, a role that will see its areas of responsibility grow considerably over the coming months and years.
Although born in Dundee, Ally Prockter considers himself to be a life-long Dons fan and, as he explains, his new position will involve community in its widest meaning:

“When George Yule outlined his vision to me for AFC in the Community, one which encompasses far more than the club has previously been involved with, I was totally ‘sold’.   It is also a marvellous opportunity for me personally to continue to develop my own skill-set whilst contributing positively to the North East of Scotland, and of course to Aberdeen Football Club.”

Health, nutrition, fitness, education and social inclusion are just some of the far reaching areas that the 49 year old will be responsible for.

“AFC is an important and visible part of the fabric of the north east community and I’ll be looking to develop and engage in initiatives that will add value in all areas of our community, not just those involving football supporters.

“An additional aspect of my job will be as a visible and identifiable link between the Club and our fans, and my colleagues and I will do everything we can to ensure that all those interested in positively supporting this fantastic club will have the opportunity to be involved in getting the various, two way, messages across.”

Ally, who moved to the north east at the age of eight, is married with two daughters and a son, plus two step-daughters and a step-son.  His youngest daughter already plays football at Aberdeen Sports Village at the tender age of 5 while his mother remains a regular Pittodrie attendee at 80!

His career with Grampian Police began in 1980, when he joined straight from Bankhead Academy as a cadet, spanning thirty-one years before retiring in November 2011.  During his time in the force, Ally gained experience in a variety of aspects of police work including staff development and training, recruitment, community policing and a spell with the Scottish Drug Enforcement Agency.

Pittodrie Vice Chairman George Yule, who is well aware of the importance of the Club’s latest appointment, said:

“This is a hugely challenging position and one for which Ally ticks all the boxes.  Aberdeen Football Club needs to be seen to be more accessible and transparent and one of the main driving forces in bringing the community as a whole together.

“One of his initial tasks is to review the overall structure of AFC in the Community and identify appropriate initiatives going forward.  

“Ally will work closely with all of our stakeholders to enable the Club to fulfil its duties and responsibilities as a role model across the region in the promotion of health, fitness, education and life skills in addition to supporting local community sector groups involved in drug and alcohol abuse programmes, special needs disability groups, female football development, unemployed and socially disadvantaged communities.”

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Feb 112013

The game was so drab that not even a proper match reporter would trouble themselves to dissect it minute by minute.  I’m only here to give you the general gist, says Voice reporter Andrew Watson, and the most I can say is that only refereeing decisions conspired to make this game even remotely as noteworthy as the goalless draw against Hibs the other week.

I can’t help but feel that the pitch, badly cut up from the Scotland game on Wednesday, was little excuse for the poor fare served up to fans.

The state of the pitch equally hampered the efforts of a high-flying St Mirren side, not just the Dons, and passes, both on the deck and in the air, were so off-target it beggared belief.

Just about the only player that merits mention, for the right reasons, is Buddies’ captain Jim Goodwin.

When Aberdeen were applying one of their few genuine periods of pressure, an incoming ball was swatted away by his diving header. A stunning sight to see. Talk about putting your body on the line. Even shoplifters wouldn’t evade his capture.

Immediately he was on his feet, castigating his defenders, urging and leading with an all-or-nothing attitude that no doubt inspired his teammates.

Unfortunately, Osbourne, the only Don showing a scintilla of that passion, was booked for his troubles. The fans were up in arms when he was shown yellow for an excellent tackle. He was deservedly declared man of the match.

It was hard to sympathise with Reynolds’ reckless shirt-pulling, for which the team would later pay a heavy price.

After the interval, Magennis replaced Robertson to spruce things up in 67 minutes. Hughes left the pitch at the 71 minute mark, with Vernon coming on. Reynolds was dismissed a minute later for deliberate handball.

Pawlett was then taken off for the equally youthful Smith, 75 minutes into the game. One questions the wisdom of replacing a relatively inexperienced youngster with another after losing an experienced player through a red card.

I kind of feel for Brown. Maybe he thought fresh young legs would inject the necessary urgency to nick a late goal. I sometimes wonder if he’s suffering as McGhee did, in that perfectly capable players just aren’t playing for him?

the team were last to just about every ball, shoved off it when in possession and outfought in the air

Anyway, it seemed that only refereeing decisions were uniting the fans behind the team. I don’t know if this is fans’ short-sightedness in ignoring poor form, or a level of loyalty unacknowledged by the press – quick to point out fair-weather support and poor Pittodrie attendances.

Referee John Beaton was pedantic in his pursuit of soft fouls and continuously stopped the flow of play. The best referees, as they say, strike a balance between letting play flow and maintaining discipline, but, hand on heart, he made bizarre decisions that angered both sets of fans throughout the 90 minutes

That is beside the point, though.  If the referee’s performance highlighted anything, it would be Aberdeen’s complete inadequacy against a very physical St Mirren side.

Although he did a bit to protect McGinn, the team were last to just about every ball, shoved off it when in possession and outfought in the air. They weren’t imposing in the box, and that’s why they didn’t score. Our players weren’t tall enough!

Would Goodwin’s last gasp dive to put the ball out for a corner earlier really have prevented a genuine goal scoring opportunity? At least he took no chances, unlike our favourite goalkeeper.

Credit to Jamie Langfield, though. He saved blushes late on with superb save, even enjoying a little bit of defensive luck when a teammate cleared the rebound. He then proceeded to try his damnedest to undo this, fluffing a pass back and nearly letting it roll over the line. Typical Dons!

He then got sarcastic cheers for actually making a connection, minutes later. Typical Red Army!

They were booed off the pitch, and quite right too.

Final score:  0-0.

Dec 162012

It is difficult to show more empathy towards  injury-stricken Dons when the fare on offer is as drab as this! Andrew Watson reports from Pittodrie.

The way things were going initially, it looked like this was heading towards a rather unremarkable 0-0 draw.

As it was though, we were served up controversy and bookings aplenty just on the edge of half-time as a Killie man came one on one with Langfield before being taken down.

Although he was the last man, a red card for Langfield seemed a bit harsh as the felled man was not exactly in the best of positions to score.

The weight of expectation fell on the shoulders of substitute keeper Brown, who came on for Fallon after 45 minutes to face the resultant penalty kick.

0-1 (Kelly) after 45 minutes.

Ignoring the fact they were a man and a goal down, it seemed a curious decision to take Fallon off the pitch.  Now, I must admit that I’ve given the Kiwi a hard time of late, but maybe his resurgence since scoring at Fir Park merited a longer stay on the pitch?

The only fault I could find with him is something I’ve observed throughout his stay at Pittodrie.  This is his propensity not to go for headers and try and win high balls that come towards him.  Why put a ‘big man’ at the top of the pitch if he doesn’t pose an aerial threat?

Back on for the second half, and the Dons were dominating possession.  Plenty of passing in and around the Killie box, but nothing incisive.

Magennis did manage to bundle it over the line, but was cautioned for his clash with the Killie keeper.  Masson then came on for Considine after 70 minutes.

It wasn’t the Dons’ day as the same Ulsterman rocketed a high ball towards goal.  We hoped for a miracle earlier, and that Brown would save the penalty.  Maybe the ball would burst the roof of the net?  Not a chance, the ball smacked right off the crossbar!

However, if every dog has its day, eventually, then the terrier-like efforts of Shaughnessy were applauded when he was replaced after 80 minutes.

He was the only good thing about this game, from an Aberdeen point of view.  He’s in the mould of Ryan Jack, but surprisingly silky and a bit taller.  That can only be a good thing, as a defender!  Youth replaced youth as McManus came on for Shaughnessy.

Six minutes later, the Rugby Park men then got away on the break and cut the ball back across the mouth of the Dons goal.  The ball was expertly dispatched.

0-2 (Kelly) after 86 minutes.

To be honest, the angle available to the scorer favoured Brown more than anyone else.  Would Langfield have got a touch to it?  Who knows, and truth be told, who cares?

Well, some of the Main Stand faithful did.  They remained adamant the delivery into the box was received from an offside position.

Perhaps they were right.  I noticed a tendency of our back four to try and spring the offside trap upon wayward attackers prior to this point in the game.

No joke, I spent many moments earlier thinking ‘what if the next time, they put their hands up for offside, and neither the referee nor linesman agree?’

Anyway, it came to fruition and I have no reason to be smug.  Why would I be when it’s at the expense of my own football team?

Another rather annoying tendency also became apparent.

Perhaps after realising that plenty of possession in and around the penalty area without forward motion was pointless, they changed tack  and began lumping the ball forward in hope of that elusive long ball that would unlock Killie’s back four.

Unfortunately these balls were lacking in accuracy, and very disappointing to watch.

It’s therefore I admit, in a rather shamefaced manner, that I couldn’t wait for the game to end.  When they announced four extra minutes I could have cried.

Final score:  0-2.

As I have previously expressed, I worry what will happen to the Dons when Fraser leaves.  They’ll really have to rethink tactics to salvage this season.  When you lose a player with so much creativity, coupled with the frustrating inconsistency of fellow wingers like Hayes, attacking plans go out the window.

I remain convinced any victory gained in Fraser’s absence will come out of dogged endeavour rather than the skill and incision he brought to the fore.

Dear Santa, a Scottish Cup – against all odds – for Aberdeen, please?

Dec 032012

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Half-time, and it was a goalless stalemate.

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

0-1 (Murphy) after 80 minutes.

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

Now here’s where it gets interesting.

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

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

1-1 after 90 minutes!

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

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

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

Final score:  1-1.

Nov 282012

Daylight robbery in Leith by the Dons this past weekend? They really pushed their luck, apparently. As much as they did against Butcher’s Highlanders? I doubt it. Aberdeen quite rightly didn’t secure any points this time. Match report by Voice’s man in the Pittodrie stand, Andrew Watson.

The Dons began the match with promise that surely must translate into securing pole position in the SPL? Not so. After an initial period of dominance, ex-Jag Hayes in particular running amok, it wasn’t to be.

Hayes’s prominence in the initial stages was a tad surprising, given his former teammates might have found his trickery predictable.

Maybe a sign of how far he’s come on? Perhaps, but his efforts and those of fellow Irishmen Magennis and McGinn weren’t enough to secure even a draw at home for the dismal Dons.

Without putting too fine a point on it, the period leading up to the Inverness goal was absolutely dreadful.

The Dons couldn’t pass and couldn’t shoot. Shoot? Fluffing the ball completely off-target would better describe it.

One Aberdeen player who shone in this period was the Kiwi Fallon, back in the first team after a respite. His determination was that of someone desperate to figure in Brown’s plans again – crunching tackles and chasing lost causes.

However, not being a marksman of the quality of McGinn, his lack of guile and opportunism really showed as Caley’s dopey keeper tempted fate in the extreme when, with the ball at his feet for an excruciating length of time, Fallon hardly mustered a jog to reach it.

It was about this time that Masson appeared to be chopped down in the centre of the park, with the referee urging play to continue. It was from there that Thistle surged forward to nick a very important goal. Masson had just replaced Clark on the half-hour mark.

0-1 (McKay ) after 36 minutes. Criminal!

At this point a rather perplexing contradiction materialised. Although they’d hardly come off the starting blocks until now, the team seemed suddenly shaken into shape. On the other hand, this was where I began to wonder why Fallon hadn’t been taken off. Only the most ardent of fans could defend his willingness to be on the wrong end of a tackle.

Anyway, with more than just the standard minute left until half-time, Aberdeen had ample opportunity to score. And they did, when Hayes’ sheer perseverance in the box pushed a dangerous ball across goal for Magennis to pounce and sidefoot it into the back of the net.

1-1 at half time. Phew!

You’re not famous anymore,’ the raucous men of Caledonian heartily sang. True, though you never have been and we’re back in the game!

In the build-up to the second half, yet another indecipherable tannoy message said something about the fourth official.  Or was it the referee? Something about the police looking for an errant linesman who’d parked his car in the wrong place, and that they were waiting for him at the tunnel?

Actually the referee had to come off after sustaining a calf injury and was replaced by an angry-looking, bald man.

Hurrah! All his decisions were going against the Dons, anyway. This guy had to be better!

The Dons’ management took the opportunity to augment the rather ropey-looking back three. Whether or not this made any difference wasn’t immediately obvious.

The Dons resumed with a barrage of attacks. Finally, Magennis caught a hapless Caley man on the turn and was left with only the ‘keeper to beat but, with the Caley no 1 closing him down fast, I didn’t think he’d be able to finish it.

Given the expert manner in which the ball was despatched into the bottom corner, however, I thought it was in fact McGinn who had scored. It was only later my dad, who’d been listening to the radio commentary, told me otherwise. Magennis’ movement, speed and delivery were uncanny.

2-1 after 50 minutes. Get in!

Unfortunately, Aberdeen then lurched into another period of shocking play. Defenders weren’t shutting down probing attackers, the midfield wasn’t dictating the flow. If I had to blame anyone it’d have to be Considine.

2-2 (Warren ) at the 58 minute mark.

…then I blamed Anderson.

2-3 (A second for McKay)

McManus on for Hayes, come 87 minutes. Caley then secured victory – and table-topping status – through Butcher orchestrating his troops carefully, and repeating this with the away crowd in a post-match singsong.

Final score:  2-3

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!

Sep 242012

Had he not envisaged covering this game for Aberdeen Voice, Andrew Watson would have perhaps not bothered staying until the end of the game!

All in all it was thrilling to watch – particularly the last ten minutes or so.

Having handed out leaflets prior to the game, in support of the Scottish Association for Mental Health (SAMH), my pal and I, far from the comfort of our seats in the Merkland Stand, found ourselves with fellow pamphleteers in the lower tier of the Dick Donald Stand.

The view was better than usual, and we were treated to an early goal, initiated by Hayes, and delivered by Gavin Rae.

We had barely taken our seats when Rae glanced a beautifully manoeuvred header into the bottom-right corner of the Motherwell goal, after about six minutes.  1-0.

The banter (abuse) in the Dick Donald was markedly better than the Merkland, as Motherwell soaked up early pressure, courtesy of the our wee marauding midfield maestro, Fraser; seemingly willing, these days, to put himself where it hurts and come back for more.

The defensive fare from the Steelmen was nothing short of the fisticuffs you’d maybe see at a heavy metal concert, and our fellow Dons fans seemed more than keen to get on the pitch themselves and act as minder for Fraser. We all know he’ll need one to remain injury-free for the rest of the season.

Even Clangers Clangfield, without his redoubtable Dunfermline mentor Tinkerbell Blunderwood to act as foil for his occasional stupidity, got a foot in the midriff for his trouble, after quite rightly soaking up a Motherwell advance with surprisingly firm hands.

Would he spill the milk later on, in spite of such noted bravery?  Surely not…yeah, maybe.  Yes.  Yes, he would.

Anyway, back to the banter:  Tom Hately, son of Rangers legend Mark, seemed telepathically willed to fluff his corner by large sections of the home support; loudly reminding him, rightly or wrongly, of his lineage to a certain Germanic emperor of days gone by, forename Attila.

Did the ball even get onto the pitch when struck?  Your erstwhile reporter here, though never engaging in such horrid antics, admittedly giggled with glee.

Not being a Motherwell fan, the game from this point onwards wasn’t exactly pretty (pretending to be Arsenal, passing it into the net, would come later) or funny.  Aberdeen barely held together as the Fir Park natives rampaged through Pittodrie’s so-called defensive stalwarts, a la Anderson and company; the last in line, holding fort…and failing miserably.


Half-time, and the only respite was the Aberdeen youth team parading their trophy on the touchline to muted applause and little fanfare.  When will we see the sight for, ahem, real, ?  You can’t help but ask.

Second half.

1-2, after three minutes.

1-3, after another, torturous, thirty-four minutes.  Cue mass exodus from Pittodrie.

Sticking around ‘cos I’m a true red, ken?  To be honest, I can’t say I’d much faith.  Never mind, this is where it gets kind of interesting.

2-3, TWO minutes later!  Who said hope dies when you watch Aberdeen?  Niall McGinn making a perfect comeback as super sub!  Good man.

Wait, maybe, perhaps … impetus gained.  Petering.  Petering.  Gone.


Impetus regained.  Free kick.  Last kick of the ball.  Shot.  Saved.  Rebound.


Magennis, you’re a defender.  And today, a bad one  at that!



Josh Magennis, you beauty!

Perhaps manager Craig Brown has silenced his critics today with this goal-scoring display.  Yet taking Vernon off, our poaching talisman, but not exactly a lone striker in the mould of Wayne Rooney – nor Lionel Messi! – was his best tactical shift of the ninety minutes.

However, early on, we looked set to win the game easily.  Realistically, alternately, this was Motherwell, riding high in pole position, and being 1-0 up wasn’t exactly a fair representation of the game after the initial first fifteen minutes or so.  We did well to come back from a two-goal deficit, which was very un-Aberdeen.

A draw, one which we didn’t really deserve, snatched from the jaws of defeat?

Oh well, it is Aberdeen we’re talking about here!