Date: 4th June 2008 at 7:05pm
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It’s still so clear in my memory. Myself standing there with 6000 mates in Tannadice waiting for the season to finally kick off. We were on such a high after reaching Europe in the final game of the previous season. Summer also for some reason makes you forget about players. You only remember their good sides. We all came crashing back down to earth though in the 91st minute as Dundee United somehow stole 3 points with only 10 men.

We didn’t even win in the first month back. That unbareable opening day defeat was followed by a 1-1 draw at home to Hearts. Barry Nicholson’s never give up attitude had the ball in the back of the net mid-way through the first half but yet again, as soon as the time added on was announced, at the end of the first half Hearts equalised. In the 2nd half they were completely on top and we ended up lucky to walk away with a point.

All is forgiven though as soon as the Old Firm come to town. And when Craig Brewster incredibly gave us a half-time lead at 1-0, it looked like our season may have finally begun. But, with 30 minutes remaining on the clock, Celtic replied. With just 5 minutes remaining, Kenny Miller came on for Celtic and scored twice to give them a 3-1 victory.

One week on at Easter Road, we thought things couldn’t get much worse. In the first two minutes, Hibs had a goal disallowed but then legitimately scored. However, Michael Hart’s cross was met in true veteran style by Brewster to make it 1-1. And with 5 minutes of the first half to play, a high ball was completely missed by Hibs’ keeper Ma-kalambay and Brewster was there again to smash the ball into the empty net. And when a cross was missed again by Ma-kalambay with half an hour left in the 2nd half, Jamie Smith made it 3-1. Literally seconds later, Darren Mackie missed the ball when all he had to do was make contact and it couldn’t have gone anywhere but in. He didn’t though and we were made to pay when Steven Fletcher pulled one back with 20 minutes left, before Dean Shiels equalised with in the 85th minute.

Into September and Aberdeen finally got that first win on board. In a mind numbing encounter at a soulless Rugby Park, Lee Miller’s improvised standing overhead kick in the 54th minute was enough to give us all three points.

After a one week international break, the SPL returned and so did Mark McGhee to Pittodrie. However, now he was in charge of Motherwell. Motherwell were near the top of the league and it was clear to see why as they quite frankly outclassed the Dons. Two first half goals in two minutes outnumbered Aberdeen’s one in the 2nd half and it looked to be another long, long season at Aberdeen.

But, that Thursday European football returned to Pittodrie in the shape of FC Dnipro Dnipropetrovesk. The Ukrainian opponents proved to be a strong side left Pittodrie with a goalless draw which was good from both sides point of view. The highlight off the game was Chris Clark’s 20 yard curling effort which was saved in world-class style by the Dnipro goalkeeper and tipped on to the post.

After some sort of high, there had to be a low. And a right good humping by Rangers at Ibrox was just that. The Dons didn’t turn up and were thrashed 3-0.

Mid-week saw the return of CIS Cup football. Aberdeen were drawn away to Partick Thistle. No-one who follows the Dons could prevent memories flooding back of the worst result in the club’s history one year earlier. Because one year earlier, Aberdeen were forced to play at Firhill after a Robbie Williams’ concert meant the game had to be moved from Hampden. They played against 3rd division side Queen’s Park and were, I’ll leave it at, beaten on penalties after 120 minutes of nil nil football. But lightning never struck twice as goals from Derek Young and Andrew Considine proved to be the start of a cup run.

It was back to league football that Saturday against a Gretna team who existed, had some fans, had some players and were paying them. They turned out to be not as easy as everyone thought they would be and the two goals in two minutes 2-0 scoreline reflected that.

Moving into October and back into European football for the away leg in Dnipro. In the 28th minute Ricky Foster’s dipping cross was met by Darren Mackie’s head and his header nearly took the net off. The goal had freaky likeness to that of John Hewitt’s winner against Real Madrid in the final of the ECWC 25 seasons ago. A freak goal when Considine cleared it off a Dnipro player was not enough for the home side though as the Dons put in their best defensive performance in years to hold on and progress to the group stages of the UEFA Cup.

There was to be no European hangover as Aberdeen returned to league football at Pittodrie. St Mirren were the visitors this time and after a dodgy first half Scott Severin got the scoring underway from the penalty spot in time added on in the first half. In the 2nd, Severin added another and Lee Miller added two for a 4-0 victory which didn’t really show a true reflection of the game.

Next week the Dons went to Inverness to play Caley Thistle, who have never beaten Aberdeen. The record was not broken as a goal from Derek Young and an own goal by the man the fans love to hate, Ross Tokely, gave Aberdeen a 2-1 victory and put them into the top 6 at that moment in time.

Look out for part two where the Dons return to European football for the group stages…