Date: 12th December 2006 at 1:34am
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Three more points earned for the Dons to keep their Euro quest on track this time against John Hughes’ on-fire Falkirk side. The home side will know that these are three points they were lucky to have as in the second half Falkirk controlled and totally out played their hosts and but for some good goalkeeping from Langfield and some poor finishing by the Bairns attack, the points could have gone to the away side and ended Aberdeen’s 50 year unbeaten record against their guests in league matches at Pittodrie.

Jimmy Calderwood said after the match in which his side clocked up their fifth home win in a row, “All credit to Falkirk; they caused us serious problems. Their movement and passing was good and we just didn’t handle it well. They deserved to take something from the game.

“Despite our two goals I don’t think we were ever in the game. We just didn’t settle after our goals. We played a lot better last week at Celtic Park and didn’t win. We have to remember that sometimes we don’t play our best but we still win, which is important. The dressing room is very quiet right now. They’re honest lads – they know they didn’t play well today but we will sort ourselves out and start turning in good performances again.”

The Dons did score two very good goals and their was no lack of determination in their play as Calderwood had his side briefed on the qualities of their challengers but reassuringly, Calderwood admitted his players knew they had under-performed despite a hard fought victory over a good-footballing side.

He said: “The dressing room is very quiet right now. They’re honest lads – they know they didn’t play well today but we will sort ourselves out and start turning in good performances again.”

Darren Mackie put the Dons in front in 17 minutes. A clever little quickly taken free-kick was chipped over the Bairns defence by Dempsey and Mackie was brave to go in where it hurts and flick the ball over Jeroen Lambers from six yards and repay Calderwood’s faith in starting speedy striker. The two players involved in the goal will have done their new contract hopes no harm at all with a smart goal which showed determination, bravery, vision and awareness between the two and the boss will be hoping the pair can combine like this more often.

No matter how pleased the boss would have been with his team’s goal, he will know that it should really have been an equalizer. Alan Gow, a man the Dons defence will know very well after this match, had got in behind the defence and as Langfield came out to shut him down, the ex-Airdie midfielder was unlucky to see his poked effort go under the keeper but hit harmlessly off the outside of the post.

The Dons looked to have the game sewn up as Chris Clark bagged his first goal of the season and it was a goal worth waiting for. Typically, Clark ran at the Falkirk defence and took the defenders wide with him. He checked his run inside before curling a 25 yard, inch perfect effort into substitute ‘keeper Higgins’ far corner with his right foot sending the fans to their feet in appreciation of his wonderful strike.

At 2-0 at half time that should have been match over, just the formality of another 45 minutes where the Dons would shut up shop, invite their opponents to come look for the goals they needed and exploit their urge to attack with quick counters but nobody told Alan Gow. Time and time again he came in from the outside right position after beating his man and despite close attention from the Dons defenders he still managed to get his shot in, one caused Langfield to act sharpish as he flew across his goal to tip an excellent effort over.

His effort and persistence was rewarded in 69 minutes with a goal very similar to Clark`s first half strike but Gow cut in from the right and as he evaded the tackles and attempts to thwart him, he unleashed a cracking 20 yard effort with his left foot into Langfield`s bottom corner.

All of a sudden the comfortable position Aberdeen had been in had become pretty nervy but the composure and confidence of the galvanized defence managed to stay united and prevented Falkirk breaching their ranks again. They can be pleased that Anthony Stokes, the league’s top scorer, had quite a quiet game and never really had many chances and the young defenders should take some pride in that.

Despite the poor second half display it should be remembered that this was a win against a team with not only the top scorer in their ranks but one which had beat Rangers the previous week without him and who kicked off on seven points behind joint second Aberdeen and deadlock breaker Darren Mackie hopes that winning these tough games will bring the fans flocking.

He commented after the game: “We’re just enjoying playing football again. We’re getting the ball down on the ground and passing it – and putting it in the back of the net.” That in turn is lifting us and the fans and lifting the club as a whole.

We have the players and the squad and we now have the belief that we can go on and finish second and qualify for the Champions League.”We’ll keep trying. We’d love to finish second. It would be nice to see the fans turn up in greater numbers as it would be great to play to a full house every week.

“But we have to be realistic and play to the audience that does come to Pittodrie to watch us. We were actually disappointed in the dressing room afterwards with the way we played.

“We know we can play better and it’s the sign of a good team that we can win when we don’t play well.

“The dressing room was down a bit. We were annoyed with the way we played in the second half. Defensively we were all over the place, which is not like us, and that was a side of things we were not happy about.

“The manager had a wee word with us but we know ourselves we didn’t produce our best form. But we got the three points and we’re delighted with that.

“I’ve scored eight already this season. I go into every campaign looking to score as many as I can and I hope to add more by the end of the season.”

Let`s hope he can add to his tally in the upcoming match at Tynecastle next Saturday as the Dons keep believing.