The sun shone all the way as Neil McLean was rewarded for his ten years loyal service to Inverurie Locos with a sizeable turnout and a strong Aberdeen FC squad containing several first teamers as opposition.
Locos had only played one low key fixture at Harlaw Park the night before the game, all their pre match friendlies prior to that being on the road and there was eager anticipation as supporters of both clubs came streaming through the turnstiles in the lead up to kick off
Several ex playing stalwarts had been selected for the home starting line up. Notably among them were co manager Kenny Coull partnered up front by Jack Strachan. Fellow co manager Scott Buchan had Roddy Mess as his central defensive partner, with Ally Graham at right back. Meanwhile Craig Ross and Tommy Wilson followed the theme of looking fit as fiddles as they were in their old familiar midfield roles
Recent Aberdeen signing David Goodwillie had the first chance of the game but saw his effort come off the underside of the crossbar. However midway through the half a serious defensive lapse by Scott McKenna let in KENNY COULL to swoop and lob over the unprotected Scott Brown
The home side stood firm on their lead but only until the 34th minute. Mess was adjudged to have fouled Nicky Low in the box and it was NICKY LOW himself stepping up to send Andy Reid the wrong way
Locos squandered an opportunity to regain their lead in 41 minutes. A rash Joe Shaughnessy challenge on Dean Donaldson brought about the second spot kick of the game. Amid loud shouts for McLean to take the penalty on his special day, it was Donaldson who took it, Brown guessing the right way and saving by diving to his right
Locos made eight changes at the restart and it was the newly introduced Martin Bavidge who had a good chance but the ball bounced awkwardly and he fired over. Andy Reid at the other end made confident saves to deny Goodwillie, Low and Cammy Smith
A good Locos move ended with ex Don David Ross almost finishing off the move he had started, then Jordan Leyden released Ross on the right but he was too eager to pull the trigger and snatched at his effort
Late on an excellent cross from the right by Craig Murray was converted at the back post by DECLAN McMANUS to make it 2-1. The win was sealed when CAMMY SMITH cooly netted No 3 after Goodwillie had appeared in an offside position but didn’t touch the ball. In the old laws of the game, the flag would have been up.
A two goal margin of victory for the full timers but the day was all about one man. Neil “Nacho” McLean and he was loudly applauded off the field as the game entered its injury time period
Inverurie Locos: Andy Reid, Ally Graham, John Maitland, Scott Buchan, Roddy Mess, Craig Ross, Tommy Wilson, Neil McLean, Kenny Coull, Jack Strachan, Dean Donaldson
Subs: Scott Mathieson, Marc Young, Scott Begg, Ross Anderson, Ryan Broadhurst, David Ross, Neil Gauld, Martin Bavidge, Jordan Leyden, Ross Still, Andy Hunter
Aberdeen: Scott Brown, Joe Shaugnessy, Craig Murray, Craig Storie, Scott McKenna, Ash Taylor, Cammy Smith, Jamie Masson, David Goodwillie, Nicky Low, Scott Wright
Subs: Declan McManus, Michael Rose, Kieran Gibbons, Marcus Campanile, Daniel Harvie, Robbie Mutch
Referee: Ryan Milne