Date: 25th May 2009 at 2:26pm
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It was quite remarkable that, having only won 2 in their last 15 games, Aberdeen were still in contention for a European spot on the last day of the season. Dundee United’s thumping by Hearts the previous weekend meant things fell very nicely into equal goal differences for Aberdeen and United, although United were 3 points ahead going into the final game. This meant however a win for Aberdeen and a loss for Dundee United meant Aberdeen would finish 4th. By ‘Jimmy luck’, Aberdeen were to face 6th place Hibs at home on the last day of the season, while Dundee United were hosts to top of the league Rangers.

After only 6 minutes, Kyle ‘[expletive] hun [expletive]’ Lafferty put Rangers ahead at Tannadice and it looked like Aberdeen’s destiny would be in their own hands. Seven minutes later at Pittodrie one of the most bizarre goals you’ll ever see went in favour of Aberdeen as Hibs keeper Ma-Kalambay booted the ball off the back of Lee Miller and the ball trickled into the net. The kick against Miller seemed to be intentional in order to win a free kick for Miller blocking his path, but when he did eventually kick it Miller was static and the goal stood. As it stood, Aberdeen were heading for Europe.

There was even more good news for Aberdeen one after the other, as while Pedro Mendes doubled Rangers lead at Tannadice on the stroke of half time, Charlie Mulgrew did likewise for Aberdeen with a spectacular free-kick from nearly 30 yards out. But, in typical Aberdeen fashion, seconds after the RedTV commentator informed us it should be safe to look out our passports now, and seconds after Mulgrew’s goal, Riordan pulled one back for Hibs all too easily with practically the last kick of the first half. But at half time, the way things were, Aberdeen would still finish 4th.

Barr a fantastic Lee Miller opportunity that should have been buried, Aberdeen posed little threat in the 2nd half. That was until they were awarded a penalty with less than 5 minutes to go. Sone Aluko stepped up to take it, and although his penalty was almost perfect, Hibs’ monstrous keeper Ma-Kalambay managed to tip it round the post. It was one of those moments you knew it wasn’t going to be your day.

How wrong you could be though. Aberdeen survived Hibs final push and with Dundee United torn apart 3-0 by Rangers, Aberdeen returned to Europe after only one season absent.

It says something about the standard of the SPL that Aberdeen were able to finish 4th. An utterly soul-destroying season football/entertainment wise, I can’t imagine what it would be like to support any club who finished below us.

Results that shouldn’t have been:

Aberdeen 0-2 Inverness – 3 points
Aberdeen 1-2 Hamilton – 3 points
Aberdeen 0-1 Dundee United – 3 points
Aberdeen 1-2 Hibernian – 3 points
Dundee United 2-1 Aberdeen – 1 point at least
Hibernian 2-2 Aberdeen (94th minute Hibs equaliser) – 2 points
Hamilton 2-0 Aberdeen – 3 points
Falkirk 1-0 Aberdeen – 3 points
Aberdeen 0-0 Kilmarnock – 2 points
St Mirren 1-1 Aberdeen – 2 points

Twenty-five stupid points dropped. It is games like the above that, over time, will need to be cut out for us to ever challenge for 2nd. Fair enough, some of them will happen sometimes though. Even half of those results turned around and we’d have cruised 3rd.

After the departure of our manager yesterday though, who came to Aberdeen to stabilise the club, is the board showing ambition that we are now to push for more than just European qualification?