Date: 19th November 2006 at 12:55am
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Darren Mackie silenced the fans that booed him onto the pitch last week as he again came on as a sub but netted two goals to take victory and the Dons into second spot.

With Rangers and Hearts both playing tomorrow, Aberdeen were looking to leapfrog their rivals, if only temporarily, into second place and also keep their impressive home form rolling as they bid to make it four wins at home on the bounce.

It took Mackie`s late brace to seal the points in a match that will win them few new fans despite the impressive league position they moved into after today`s victory.

The local boy had been dropped and in his place Calderwood had again brought in Steve Lovell to partner Scotland star Lee Miller after they had done so well against Motherwell. Calderwood praised Mackie for his attitude and spirit as he told of Darren`s work rate and effort in training despite his relegation from the starting eleven and perhaps his drive to regain his place spurred on an excellent 20 minutes when he did come on.

Calderwood said after the match, ‘All credit to Darren as he works hard every day. I’ve seen so many lads spit the dummy out but he goes the other way. He’s a positive, very popular guy in the dressing room. It’s not an easy decision to put him on the bench but it’s what happens when you’ve got everybody fit. And I put him on, and he changed the game, lifted the crowd and all of us, and he scored two goals. I thought he showed a lot of character when he came on last week, and again today.

His determination, spark and eagerness did seem to lift the team and brought a new sense of urgency at exactly the right time. The St Mirren defence had battled hard and coped well with the Dons arsenal and although the Pittodrie men managed seven attempts on target, it wasn`t until Mackie`s appearance that a home win looked likely despite Aberdeen controlling the majority of the match with some nice play and possession.

Mackie`s first goal came ten minutes after he`d replaced Steve Lovell. A foul by Andy Millen on Darren Mackie gave the Dons a direct free kick which was taken right-footed by Gary Dempsey from the right channel. Mackie connected with Andrew Considine`s head on and clipped a left-footed effort high into the centre of Tony Bullock`s goal from six-yards.

St Mirren were only ever likely to be hoping for a point in this match but Mackie killed off any hopes they may have had of that with his second of the day in 84 minutes. Jamie Smith broke clear as Saints searched for an equaliser and squared the ball to Mackie who had found space . He then drilled a left-footed shot into the bottom-left of the goal from left side of penalty from about 12 yards which gave the decent sized crowd of 11,426 an easy last five minutes.

Calderwood was optimistic after the match buts knows there is still plenty work to do but his team is moving the right way. He said ‘Without doubt this is the best team I’ve had at Pittodrie and it still hasn’t fulfilled its potential. The fear of not delivering shouldn’t exist but you are always fearful because of the past.

The start a year ago was poor and two seasons ago we had a bad spell around this time so I always worry more about my own team than the opposition.

If we get ourselves right then we will do well because the squad is getting back to the sort of strength we need to compete. Every game is difficult but I always think you have more of a chance in your own backyard.

By Cole Thomson