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P&J: Red Army is rewarded for its patience

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Red Army is rewarded for its patience


Published: 22/12/2008


Christmas is a time for reconciliation and it would appear the festive spirit has infected Aberdeen.


At the beginning of the season the relationship between the Dons and their passionate support seemed fractured, the Scottish Cup semi-final capitulation to Queen of the South was one infidelity too many.


The road back has been a slow, torturous affair. It would seem, however, that the club and its supporters are once again smitten.


The Reds are finally all singing from the same carol sheet.


Saturday's minor invasion of Inverness was impressive on so many counts. This was no quick peck under the mistletoe, this was a bear hug for a returning prodigal son.


The Red Army enjoyed one almighty Christmas party in the Highlands capital. Perhaps the supporters are now finally beginning to trust their team, and its manager, once again.


Star performers were serenaded and there was even a few choruses for Jimmy Calderwood, who could have been forgiven for thinking his ears were deceiving him.


There can be no doubt, however, that Calderwood's new-look side is starting to look like a force in Scotland, and a third one at that.


A run of three consecutive victories has not just earned his squad Christmas Day off, it has set up the Dons most exciting match of the season thus far when Hearts come to town on Saturday.


Just four points separate the sides and Aberdeen now have that coveted third spot in their sights. While some may count down the hours to December 25, a large portion of the Red Army has its eyes on 48 hours later.


There is no reason to feel trepidation either as their team has clicked at a crucial juncture of the season.


The victory in Inverness, a welcome venue for the Dons, oozed confidence.


The side now has structure and balance, and more importantly, a spine carved out of granite. At the back Scott Severin and Zander Diamond have helped establish the best defensive record outside of the Old Firm.


Up front Lee Miller has evolved into a seven-figure striker and is worth his weight in gold. Now Darren Mackie's incredible workload is also producing goals, his sublime chip on Saturday was his fifth of the season.


The midfield area has been crucial with Mark Kerr and Gary McDonald proving to be perfect foils. Kerr's quality in the SPL has never been in doubt but the rapid rise to form of McDonald will be particularly pleasing for Calderwood.


The former Oldham man is proving to be fairly lethal and although he has four goals this season already and no doubt will at least double that tally, he will be hard pushed to construct a better one than his effort on Saturday.


McDonald latched on to a hasty clearance, chested the ball down and then lashed it into the bottom corner from the edge of the box. It was a thing of beauty in a trio of strikes that are destined to appear on the best of DVD.


The Dons three goals in the Highlands could adorn the front of Christmas cards, such was their aesthetic delight. The first was the type of 30 yard curling free kick that Charlie Mulgrew has patented.


The former Celtic defender has a left foot so sharp it could carve the turkey. The other side of McDonald's cracker there was the splendid effort from Mackie. The forward raced on to Miller's flick and contemptuously lifted the ball over the advancing Ryan Esson in goal.


The away end at the Caledonian Stadium exploded into raptures.


The Dons have raised their standards, now they have to maintain them. If they can, it could well be a season to be jolly.

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Up front Lee Miller has evolved into a seven-figure striker and is worth his weight in gold


Weight: 11st 7lbs = 73kg


1kg of gold is currently £18754


Therefore Lee Miller is worth £1,369,042


Can you tell I'm just clock watching here at work?

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