After attending the last fixture against Manchester United in 2008 for the 25th anniversary of the Gothenburg side, I chose to sacrifice this one in favour of a game more meaningful in terms of consequences for the club. This decision came about after attending the last one and being surrounded by roasters and tourists in an atmosphere flatter than a game of golf. This did mean that I would not actually be there and unable to honour Simmie in the way I would have wished but it did mean I’d see the game uninebriated and from an unobstructed view for the first time in many months due to the game’s showing on the telly.
The first positive from the game was the performance of Isaac Osbourne. After 2 outstanding performances in consecutive weeks against Celtic and Ross County, a higher quality of opposition would provide the midfielder with a real challenge. Osbourne turned out the same performance again and stopped United from creating any real chances in his time on the park.
Another clear positive from the game was the performance of Johnny Hayes. Not once did the new signing swither to take any opponent on and put in a number of dangerous crosses which even the MUTV commentators found it within themselves to give credit to, even once making a good point noting that Hayes was playing ahead of the game being played by his team-mates.
Perhaps the brightest spark in the Aberdeen side however was Michael ‘didn’t know he still played for Aberdeen’ Paton. The youngster, who disappeared off the scene at Aberdeen during McGhee’s reign after refusing to go on loan to then 1st division side Dundee, even managed to earn himself his own review spot at half time of the game on MUTV, before impressing further in the 2nd half. Paton showed signs of the player who exploded onto the scene with goals against Rangers and Celtic, providing a serious aerial threat and worthwhile long range efforts. With fellow strikers Niall McGinn and Rory Fallon both facing undetermined spells on the injury list, it’s likely Paton will get his chance to prove his worth in the coming weeks.
An honourable mention must go to the Dons defence who managed to keep United’s strike force, including an appearance from Dwight Yorke, at bay. For nearly 20 incredible minutes, the Dons lined up with Considine, Reynolds, Brian Irvine and Doug Rougvie at the back, the latter of which found himself having to pull out of potentially tasty 50/50s upon realisation of his 56 years of age.
Elsewhere, Rob Milsom in his comeback game was 10 yards off the pace, giving away numerous fouls as a result which would have seen him receive approximately 7 yellow cards in a competitive game. A long way to go until he makes a return to the starting eleven.
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