Date: 11th May 2008 at 2:20pm
Written by:

Well, the dream’s over. We put up a good fight but it’s now impossible to qualify for Europe next season. After winning 4 out of our last 5 games, the media finally realised that we were still in the race. But after 24 results went our way since the 1-1 draw with St Mirren seven weeks ago, our luck finally ran out yesterday at Motherwell.

The only bright light in a dull first half was Josh Walker. With half our first team/Calderwood’s favourites out again, the Middlesbrough loanee was given the nod and was the only attacking threat for Aberdeen. On the hour mark the home side took a deserved lead through Darren Smith after Motherwell were given far too much space throughout the whole move. Five minutes later Calderwood inexplicably replaced Walker with Sone Aluko. Only two minutes on the park, Aluko scored what he described as his best goal for the club with a left footed volley. And only 5 minutes later, Aberdeen should have gone 2-1 up. A long Severin throw was played in to the box by Duff and the ball came to Barry Nicholson whose effort was saved by Smith according to the officials. Typically, TV evidence the ball was infact over the line and the 11 celebrating Aberdeen players should have indicated that. But with only 10 minutes remaining Chris Porter scored the goal that, depending on Hibs’ result against Celtic, sent Motherwell into Europe. Ricky Foster lost the ball carelessly to Motherwell whose quick counter was finished by Porter, with a slight hint of offside.

Questions must be asked yet again though about Calderwood’s selection and tactics. Why with Mackie a ‘doubt’ the whole week did he start ahead of Lovell who is fit and factually a much better striker? Secondly, why on earth did Stuart Duff start ahead of Aluko? Ex-Dundee United reserve or an England U-19 international on loan from Birmingham? Hmmm. Why was Walker subsituted? Aberdeen’s best player until he was replaced, he was at that point the only attacking threat. Sure, some will say but look what happened, Aluko came on and scored. But Aluko should have started and someone else should have made way for him i.e. the invisible Mackie. And lastly, with 10 minutes remaining and needing a win to keep the possibility of Europe alive, why did Maguire replace Mackie instead of Lovell? The last minute king, with a better strike rate than both those players separately and combined, er, no brainer.

So we can forget the excuses, all those factors added up to that loss. I hope you’re reading this Calderwood.

Full match report on Monday…