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http://www.pressandjournal.co.uk/Article.aspx/956565

 

Calderwood asks the Dons to give him a good New Year

 

By Paul Third

 

Published: 26/11/2008

 

Jimmy Calderwood has set his Aberdeen players the target of parity with Uefa Cup pacesetters Hearts by the end of the year.

 

The Jambos have surged eight points clear of the Dons following four straight wins, a feat they have not managed since George Burley’s spell in charge at Tynecastle.

 

But the Dons took just four points during the Hearts surge and have fallen back to seventh place in the SPL.

 

With Hearts facing Rangers this weekend and Aberdeen at home to Motherwell, Calderwood wants his players to begin reducing the gap before the Jambos come to Pittodrie for the final game of the year on December 27.

 

He said: “We played well in defeat at Rangers on Saturday but we have to take that performance into our home game against Motherwell this weekend.

 

“The aim now has to be getting closer to the teams above us. Come January, if we are not in third place then at worst I want us to be three or four points off it.

 

“Hearts are showing what can be achieved if you string together four results. They have moved clear in third place despite not playing well. They are a powerful side who don’t lose games easily.â€

 

Before Aberdeen can think of mounting a European challenge, however, Calderwood knows the ongoing defensive malaise needs to be addressed.

 

The two goals conceded at Ibrox in Saturday’s 2-0 loss to Rangers were the latest in a season-long catalogue of poor concentration and individual errors. The Dons manager knows the poor form at the back cannot go on.

 

He said: “I thought the mistakes had been eradicated but it was a comedy of errors at Tannadice followed by four goals conceded from corners at Hibs and Rangers.

 

“We were taller than Rangers on Saturday, which must be a first in my time here, but the deliveries were low into the box and we didn’t deal with them.â€

 

Darren Mackie, who missed the defeat at Ibrox with hamstring strain, is expected to return to the squad to face the Steelmen. In the absence of experienced first-team squad members, the Dons have had a youthful look to them and Calderwood has been impressed with their contribution.

 

He said: “It will be good to have experienced players such as Darren Mackie, Stuart Duff and Jamie Smith back but the youngsters in the team are doing well.

 

“We had five players under 21 in our squad on Saturday, which augurs well, but these days there is not a lot of leeway for managers to plan.â€

 

Saturday, 29 November 2008

Aberdeen v Motherwell, 15:00

Hearts v Rangers, 12:30

 

Saturday, 6 December 2008

Kilmarnock v Aberdeen, 15:00

Motherwell v Hearts, 15:00

 

Saturday, 13 December 2008

Aberdeen v Falkirk, 15:00

Celtic v Hearts, 15:00

 

Saturday, 20 December 2008

Hearts v Dundee Utd, 15:00

Inverness CT v Aberdeen, 15:00

 

Saturday, 27 December 2008

Aberdeen v Hearts, 15:00

 

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I’m sick of reading about targets that should be met, what players should be doing in games, individual mistakes, where we should be, what we should be aiming for, luck, bad refereeing decisions……blah blah blah.

 

I’m probably one of the more forgiving fans on this board and not prone to knee-jerk reactions.  But if the players can’t achieve what is expected of them, then they’re not good enough for my football club or worthy of a new contract.

 

Simple as that.

 

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