For prolonged spells Aberdeen thoroughly dominated a Hearts side that if it weren’t for an own goal would have claimed a draw against Liverpool only a few days earlier.
It seemed that it was only a matter of time before Aberdeen would make the breakthrough but after 90 minutes the score remained 0-0. Nine attempts at goal weren’t enough for the Dons and they were nearly punished in the final minute of the match when Aberdeen defence and goalkeeper alike failed to take command of a situation that lead to Hearts firing the ball against the post. It would have been one of the great injustices of football. This view was entirely supported by Hearts manager John McGlynn who said in his post match interview ‘If we had scored that one at the end it would have felt like we had mugged them. It would have been daylight robbery.’
Perhaps the greatest positive Dons fans were able to take from the game was the 4th man of the match performance in 4 games by Isaac Osbourne. It’s been well over a decade since Pittodrie was graced by a player of Osbourne’s style. The midfielder joined the Dons at the beginning of last season and consistently put in similar shifts without receiving any real credit but ended up making only 26 appearances due to injury. The Englishman loves a good 50/50 and hasn’t lost one this season, and much like Dons legend Willie Miller often holds back that vital half second to hit the opponent as hard as possible whilst still winning the ball cleanly. In arguably the best moment of the game, Osbourne’s man of the match award was announced over the PA system seconds before halving his opposite number, sending the Dons fans into somewhat of a celebration.
Another positive for the majority of the game was the performance of goalkeeper Jamie Langfield. Although he wasn’t given much to do but clear the ball, there was no spectacular clanger this time round, making it 4 games without mistake for the Dons number one. There was only one heart stopping moment at the end where he failed to take command of a situation in the penalty area that lead to Hearts striking the post but blame could equally be directed at the Dons defence. You can guarantee though his next howler is going to come in October at Tannadice.
Fans of Rangers have taken great delight in pointing out the dip in attendance from the last home fixture against Ross County. Only a couple of families away from the 12,000 mark, The Rangers believe this is a sign that ‘Scottish football needs Rangers’. How the two are linked we will probably never find out but the attendance is still leaps and bounds ahead of last season’s average of 8,770. Half of the drop in attendance was in fact due to their being nearly 1,000 fewer away fans than at the Ross County fixture. With 7,232 season tickets alone sold to date, plus the consideration of away fans, it is unlikely any attendances this season will fall below last season’s average.
The Dons next fixture is against Saint Mirren at Pittodrie on Saturday. The Saints are 7th in the table, 2 places above Aberdeen only by goal difference and having faced arguably an easier opening month of fixtures against Inverness, Dundee, Hibs and Motherwell. When the Dons find their first goal of the campaign the floodgates usually open. Scott Vernon is a striker who can’t stop scoring when on form and all he needs is one goal to set him on his way. A win would set Aberdeen up nicely for morale over the international break that follows and going into the next round of fixtures beginning with a trip to Inverness.
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