Tuesday, December 13, 2011

SPL Advent: Aberdeen

In the run up to Christmas the Scottish Football Blog is taking a daily look at the season so far for the 12 SPL clubs.

And what they might hope to find in their stockings.

Alphabetically at least Aberdeen are number one.


Woe seems to hang over Pittodrie like a particularly clingy North Sea haar at the moment.

The cliche is of miserable northerners harking back to the Alex Ferguson inspired days of yore.

The reality is a group of supporters suffering agony upon agony and demanding better.

Who can blame them? Joint bottom of the league with only three wins from 17 games, Aberdeen are one of only two teams in Scotland still waiting for an away win.

The other is East Stirling. You don't need to hanker after the glory days of the 1980s to see that Aberdeen probably shouldn't be keeping company with the tenants of Ochilview.

They would be lying fifth if the SPL was judged on home league form alone. Manager Craig Brown loves a stat so he'll be clinging on to that one for dear life.

But he'll also be desperately trying to work out why his team are more apprehensive on the road than a group of flat-earthers on a cruise ship.

He wouldn't be the first manager to be left perplexed by the challenge of Pittodrie. But even hardened Brown defenders, a group for which I'll admit a certain sympathy, must concede that his record so far has been spectacularly underwhelming.

The simplest statistic suggests that with 45 percent of the season gone Aberdeen are up to their knees in relegation dung. And that's because they've stunk for large parts of the season.

Not scoring enough goals, not strong enough at the back, discipline the worst in the league.

It's easy to argue that Brown has inherited a club that is in a mess off the field. That might have been part of this particular poisoned chalice for some time.

Yet his job to rise above all that. Aberdeen are not too big go down. They're not too good to go down.

They've only managed to score more than one goal six times so far. And on three of those occasions they've only managed to win one point.

The latest example of that was Saturday. The referee didn't help their cause. But Aberdeen were two up at home against an inconsistent St Mirren side inside 20 minutes.

And still they could only emerge with a point.

Results like that keep teams in the mire. They don't soothe the worries of supporters who are now so aggrieved that they delivered a coffin to Pittodrie before Saturday's game.

The last rites are a long way off. But Aberdeen need to drag themselves from their sickbed pretty quickly.

All I want for Christmas


Cheap joke out of the way: Aberdeen are well placed to get what they want this festive season. Craig Brown is, after all, the only SPL manager who went to school with Santa. I'm here all week.

There are worse defences in the SPL. But there seems a flimsiness about Aberdeen that is costing them in tight games.

Could Russell Anderson's return add some granite?

Will Brown have the cash and the eye to identify a goalscorer to help out Scott Vernon?

What Santa really needs to bring is some away cheer.

Aberdeen have only scored at East End Park and Celtic Park this season. That is a shocking return.

Take out the seven they've scored in two games against Dunfermline and they've managed only 12 goals in 15 games home and away.

Goals, defensive steel and a few away wins.

Santa will have his work cut out delivering all that. And Brown might well be asking for some job security as well.

Mostly though Aberdeen will be asking not to be relegated. I'll say now that I don't think they will be.

But I've not got flying reindeer at my disposal. There might still be some rough days ahead.

The Scottish Football Blog blogathon took place in November in aid of Alzheimer Scotland and the Homeless World Cup. You can still donate to help two great causes.