Date: 5th June 2008 at 1:49pm
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By the end of part one, we were sitting in 6th in the Scottish Premier League and preparing for the UEFA Cup tie against Panathanaikos on 25th October, 2007. We had done very well to get past a very strong Dnipro side in the first round and now it was the group stages. In Athens against PAO we were given a lesson in European football as they ran away 3-0 victors. Unfair victors however. Their team was full of cheats, especially their small black centre forward. And it was that that won it for them in the end. We were taught that it’s easy to con the ref in Europe, and not to breathe too hard on opposing players incase you might get penalised for it.

It was a disappointing week all round really as the Dons returned to Pittodrie to play Falkirk. An injury time first half penalty from Scott Severin prevented large loud booing from the crowd when the half time whistle went. But with 68 minutes played, Falkirk deservedly equalised and it finished 1-1.

That Wednesday though, Aberdeen had to put all that behind them when Inverness came to Pittodrie for the CIS Insurance Cup quarter-final. Two penalties in the first 20 minutes from Barry Nicholson before a goal right on the stroke of half time gave Aberdeen a 3-0 lead at the break. Caley pulled one back with 20 minutes left to play but Nicholson completed the scoring and completed his hat-trick with 78 minutes on the clock.

Back to league football yet again and Dundee United visited Pittodrie for the 2nd New Firm derby of the season. In first half stoppage time, Sone Aluko scored in world-class fashion when he beat one player, poked it through another’s legs before slamming the ball high into the roof of the net to give Aberdeen a 1-0 lead at the break. Barry Robson was sent off for dangerous play with 10 minutes to go and in the 89th minute so was Lee Wilkie. Ex-United striker Lee Miller saw the opportunity with seconds remaining and struck the ball from 35 yards past the helpless United keeper for a 2-0 win.

That Thursday saw the 3rd consecutive game played at Pittodrie. This time in Europe against Lokomotiv Moscow. With 27 minutes on the clock Barry Nicholson swung in a corner and Zander Diamond rose above all to head Aberdeen into the lead. However, right on the stroke of half-time Andrew Considine was caught ball watching and his man put Lokomotiv back level. A sweetly struck half volley by Lee Miller was the only highlight of the 2nd half as Aberdeen at least picked up their first point of the group stages.

You’ve heard of European hangovers and no better example than Hearts vs. Aberdeen on 11th November. Andrew Driver gave Hearts the lead in the 3rd minute after some messing about in defence. Velicka doubled Hearts tally in the 14th minute. As all looked lost for the Dons, Jeffrey De Visscher pulled one back in the 38th minute. He took the ball down well on the right hand side of the box, cut inside and swept the ball left footed to the right of the Hearts keeper. Joy was not long lived however when Tall restored Hearts two goal advantage in the 54th minute before Nade finished the scoring with half an hour to go to end it Hearts 4-1 Aberdeen.

Away to Celtic one week later and once again the Dons lost by 3 goals. Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink and Aiden McGeady gave Celtic a two-nil lead at the break before Scott McDonald’s goal early in the 2nd half sealed the victory.

No-one could have cared less however as over 5000 Aberdeen fans travelled by land, air and sea to get themselves to Madrid for the UEFA Cup encounter with Atletico Madrid. After some fierce clashes outside the ground, it wasn’t much different inside. In a closely contested first half, Michael Hart, who just weeks before slated fellow defender Considine for stupid errors, really stupidly fouled an Atletico player inside the box at the end of the first half. Former Manchester United striker Diego Forlan took the honours and slotted the ball past Langfield. With 61 minutes played, Atletico got a dodgy free-kick on the edge of the box. Simao’s effort struck the post but rebounded off of goalkeeper Jamie Langfield and the ball was in the back of the net. Some post-match banter between the seperated Aberdeen fans with chants like ‘we hate Rangers more than you’ and ‘you’re only sheep shagging b*stards’ showed spirits were not dampened however.

Returning to the league yet again for the visit of Hibernian when Aberdeen put in one of their best performances of the season. Steven Fletcher gave an incredibly young Hibs side a 1-0 lead in the 24th minute but Lee Miller levelled with his head 10 minutes later before a deflected Chris Clark free-kick and a Derek Young daisy cutter gave Aberdeen a 3-1 win.

One week on and Aberdeen were the victors yet again, this time against Kilmarnock. Fernandez gave the visitors the lead with quarter of an hour remaining in the first half but in the 2nd half, Barry Nicholson’s penalty and Lee Miller’s effort turned the tables for a 2-1 victory.

Aberdeen travelled to the opposite corner of the country for their match against Motherwell the week following and three first half goals from the home team were what seperated the sides, apart from class.

That Thursday the Aberdeen players had their chance to put their names in the history books when FC Copenhagen came to Pittodrie for the final UEFA Cup group stage game. Copenhagen boasted many top class players, such as ex-Chelsea, Jesper Gronkjaer. The Dons knew what had to be done. A win would put Aberdeen through to the last 32, anything else would see Copenhagen take the final spot. The first half came and went, but at half-time nobody could have predicted what would unfold in the 2nd. On his birthday, Jamie Smith gave Aberdeen an early Christmas present when he gave us the lead 2 minutes in. Langfield’s goal kick was given the slightest of touches by Miller for Smith, who chested it down before lobbing the keeper from 30 yards, later to be crowned AFC goal of the season. Eight minutes later, he did it again. Once again Miller was the architect as his high ball put Smith clean through on goal. Instead of taking a touch he hit it first time on the left foot and Pittodrie erupted once again. With 20 minutes to play, incredibly, Miller got his hat-trick of assists. He shrugged off his marker before his cross-shot was turned into his own net by Antonsson to make it 3-0. Most of the red army were sure it was all a dream when with 7 minutes remaining, Maguire played the ball across the face of the goal and Foster connected at the other end as it finished four zero to the Aberdeen and we were into the round of 32.

Rangers were the last team to play the Dons before Christmas. And Christmas seemed to be ruined when Charlie Adam gave Rangers a 1-0 lead in the 30th minute. Five minutes later, Chris Clark tried to shield the ball out for a corner but Alan Hutton went right through him and the ball and Hutton received a yellow card. Behind the referee’s back Ferguson appeared to assault Lee Miller but of course the referee managed to see Miller’s return attack and he was shown yellow. Two minutes later, Hutton was on the run down the right next to the Rangers support and Clark saw it as the perfect opportunity for revenge as his ‘tackle’ knocked Hutton off the pitch. Trouble flared both on and off the pitch and once again behind the referee’s back, Lee McCulloch actually attacked Scott Severin. Thankfully this time the other officials saw the incident and McCulloch was shown a straight red. And on the stroke of half-time, Lee Miller put his head where it hurts and at the cost of a swollen lip equalised for Aberdeen. It finished 1-1.

On Boxing Day, thousands of red army travelled to Motherwell for the meeting with Gretna who didn’t have a (qualified) ground. The first half was so bad Scotsport didn’t show any highlights of it. The last minute king Steve Lovell came on with 10 minutes remaining and gave the fans what they deserved with 86 minutes on the clock. But, 2 minutes later Gretna were awarded a penalty. However, Langfield tipped it onto the post. Disgracefully, it didn’t finish 1-0. In the final minute, Gretna equalised for a point Aberdeen hardly deserved.

For the final game of 2007, Aberdeen travelled to Paisley to play Saint Mirren on the 29th December. In a totally dull affair, it was that man again, Steve Lovell, who popped up in the dying seconds to give Aberdeen all three points. A short pass back was pounced on by Lovell who composedly knocked the ball into the back of the net.

Look out for part three for some of the most shocking results in Jimmy Calderwood’s time at Aberdeen…