Dons From The Don Telling it like it is

Stand By Your Man!

By the time you read this week’s DFTD, Aberdeen’s board may have panicked and relieved our manager of his duties. This would be a ridiculously short-sighted move, perhaps temporarily appeasing the sixth-form style thinkers in their creepy chatrooms or the small deluded bunch still loyal to the big loon who enjoys a pint doon the Govan Bowling Club. Indeed the stadium was awash with stories of his return to the fold, Heaven forbid.

The nine-nil reverse at Celtic Park was undeniably sore and damaging to the football club. However, it was fifty-nine minutes of complete and utter madness that saw Celtic convert every one of their attempts on target bar two. It followed a decent half hour for the Dons that included a great chance for Chris Maguire. The game was of the freakish type that beset a far better Dons side at MacDiarmid Park under Alex Smith for example. Paul Hartley knows that he let his new club down but to criticize our skipper would be churlish in the extreme, given what he has already contributed to the cause.

It was a miserable afternoon that will have been incredibly welcome for Doogie McDonald, the debacle temporarily removing the untruthful official from the media glare. The heavy loss understandably made Tuesday night’s Inverness clash take on extra importance but Aberdeen’s luck was totally out. If anyone thinks any of the Dons players didn’t give 110% against ICT they don’t know football. Watching the game upon getting home from the match you actually started believing that the Dons had to win, given the total dominance in the second half. Inverness took the lead due to simulation of the most repulsive type. The poor referee had a night to forget from beginning to end and the last thing he needed was players feigning and faking. The farcical penalty only served to double the Dons’ resolve.

First half additional time was measured at two minutes which means that no injury time was played once factoring in the four yellows that had been flashed in the first period. The second half saw the passing and movement back to what we were enjoying back in August and the goal from Velicka was a belter, sent on his way by the best player of the field by a country mile – Scottie Vernon. The ref was given the chance to correct his penalty howler by awarding one to the home team but one assumes he must have been unsighted for the blatant hand-ball.

The Inverness winner came from a free-kick that never was at the half way line, poor defending but rough, rough justice on a Dons team that gave everything. There was still time for Foran to try and get Ifil sent off and the game’s close saw the classless Butcher provocatively gesticulating in front of the RDS, doubly stupid given the pressure on a fellow boss.

Mark McGhee was bullish and quite excellent in his post-match interviews on Tuesday. I do hope that the board hold their nerve and properly take into account the budget they have forced their employee to work with and by definition the worryingly youthful squad that has resulted. Standing good for a manageable debt is fine and dandy but more and more fans are scratching their heads and querying why fantastically rich individuals are involved if they have no intention of investing in the area’s only senior football club.

Someone called the new ground ‘a vanity stadium’ this week and that is a brilliant description. Great rationale, lousy location. It’s taken the focus off the football. Mark McGhee will undoubtedly question his own decisions and soul search to get things right at a football club he loves but the great and good need to do likewise. The Dons are on the cusp of a very exciting team in the next couple of seasons but only if everyone in the Dons family sticks together.

Celtic’s Anti-Poppy Shame

Glasgow Celtic were said to be embarrassed and angered by sections of their support unfurling various disgraceful banners on Saturday. The club, who has had issues at this time of the year before, ironically has since enjoyed warm plaudits for the swiftness of their ‘condemnation’. Talk of bans has ensued, but you will forgive me if we file this under ‘Old Firm Lip Service’.

British Heavyweights

No boxing fan would ever claim to have Harrison or Haye anywhere near the all-time British greats type description, but I can’t help but be sucked into the intrigue as the two Brits go toe-to-toe on Saturday night. Many a sneaky tenner will be placed on Harrison to spring a surprise. Haye will need to take care of business as soon as possible as even Lennox Lewis was twice undone by random rogue punches – something always on the radar in this division.

Villa L-Plate Tale

I heard this week that young Barry Bannon of Aston Villa has been taking driving lessons of late, nothing odd so far then, but his driving instructor is no less that Pat Herd. Pat was part of the Aston Villa squad that became champions of Europe. Alas the footballer can’t rip up his plates quite yet, after failing his test on Monday. Just for the record Bannon made eight minor errors and had a nightmare attempt to parallel park.

Please May I Play For You

The megastar modern footballer can certainly switch on and off the effort given in matches, but Nando Torres took this to new levels against Chelsea on Sunday. Suddenly gone were the slumped shoulders and sulky arm waving of recent weeks. Up against the side he knows he should have joined and the side who know they cocked up by under-bidding for his services, Torres was positively buzzing. With Barca and Real fully stocked with forwards, Torres will have done his chances of moving up to Chelsea no harm at all.

Next Games

The SPL’s computer, a poor cousin of Mr Babbage one assumes, sends Aberdeen to Glasgow for the third weekend on the spin to face their traditionally most fierce of rivals Rangers. Anything less than ten goals for the home side will be seen as failure by their followers! A most unlikely draw is the verdict of Stroopy the Ferret, the poor wee thing has been on the Night Nurse this week following that awful scoreline from Celtic. Elsewhere, Dundee United 1 Killie 1, Hamilton 1 Inverness 1, Hibs 1 Motherwell 0, St Johnstone 1 Hearts 2, St Mirren 1 Celtic 4. Down south, Aston Villa 2 Man Utd 4, Everton 1 Arsenal 2.

Hark The Herald

My uncle has gone crazy – he says Oddjob was an Olympic medallist before being a Bond baddie!

DFTD: Hold the crazy jibe, your uncle ain’t losing it. Oddjob (Harold Barty Sakata) won silver for his adopted USA in the 1948 games. This was in the light-heavyweight division. Sakata went on to become Koo Koo Choo in the professional wrestling arena before gaining fame as Tosh Tosh Togo. Of course we all remember the little fella from Goldfinger, with a couple of the scenes being filmed on Skye.

Who said ‘There is no trouble so great or grave that cannot be much diminished by a nice cup of tea’?

DFTD: These wise words came from Bernard-Paul Heroux.

What sort of record did Ray Illingworth have as England cricket chairman and chief selector?

DFTD: It wasn’t good at all – only six wins in twenty-eight tests.

How old was Dennis Bergkamp when he made his Ajax debut?

DFTD: The gifted player was only 17 and still at school. Named after Denis Law, Bergkamp’s debut was against Malmo. He left for Inter in 1995 for £7.5M.

Why was there barely a whimper when United lost seven at Ibrox, yet it’s the end of the world when we lose nine at Parkhead?

DFTD: It ain’t complex science dear reader – the Tangerines got off lightly, and rightly so, as they won a trophy not long after, but Aberdeen’s capitulation gave the usual suspects all the ammo they could wish for to attack the Dons.

One To Chew Over

Bobby Barnes from Kintore’s Northern Road has been in contact last week, asking: Who won the first three World Indoor Bowls Championships? The answer just had to be the pipe-smoking David Bryant.

I was chatting to Mark Rocco and Clive Myers from Fintray at Pittodrie on Tuesday and the guys wanted the following included: Which England goalie was known as The Cat? (DFTD note – take care on this one!) Answer right here next week.

Thomson’s Teasers

Highland League Special

1. Which former Don played between the sticks for Deveronvale against Aberdeen in the Scottish Cup of 1960/61?

2. Who scored for Inverness Thistle in the Highland League Cup Final of 1987/88?

3. Which ex-Rothes player went to Aberdeen in 1985?

4. Which final was Cove Rangers’ first in the seniors?

5. By summer 1989 how many goals had Charlie Barbour scored for Keith?

6. Which ex-Clach player had his Darlington contract canceled within three months of joining the side?

7. How much money did Elgin City make from their cup-tie against Celtic in 1966/67?

8. Which club bought their ground from the Gordon Castle Highland Games Committee?

9. What was the result when Aberdeen faced Elgin in the Scottish Cup during the seventies?

10. Which season saw the Scottish Qualifying Cup move to a one match decider?

Answers.

1. Reggie Morrison

2. John Bain

3. David Lawrie

4. Aberdeenshire FA Centenary Cup (87/88)

5. 125

6. Davie Shearer

7. £2767

8. Rothes

9. 5-0 to the Dons

10. 1977/78