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Wednesday 19th June 2024

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Scotsman Article - How to be a success at Aberdeen


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Here, we pick out ten areas the new manager will need to get right if he is to be a success in the north east...

 

1 Win some silverware

 

Or at least get to a final. Despite his relatively poor form in the Premier League, Ebbe Skovdahl was revered by many Aberdeen supporters for taking the club to two Hampden finals in 2000. Jimmy Calderwood, on the other hand, had a decent record in the SPL but was dismissed last month for failing to make progress in the cup competitions.

 

McGhee's own cup record is not great – an FA Cup semi-final appearance with Wolves 11 years ago is the highlight – but a first piece of silverware since the 1995 Coca-Cola Cup win is clearly the priority for Aberdeen. And any defeats to lower-league teams like Queen's Park and Queen of the South certainly won't go down well.

 

2 Don't harp on about Celtic all the time

 

Sadly, this piece of advice might have come too late for McGhee, who revealed at yesterday's press conference his burning desire to one day manage at Parkhead. Success-starved fans looking for some inspiration ahead of a new campaign really didn't want to hear the words "on a scale of one to two then Celtic would be above the Aberdeen job" from the new man at the helm.

 

Some Aberdeen supporters used to get themselves in bit of a state whenever Calderwood mentioned that he comes from a staunch Rangers-supporting family and was born a stone's throw from Ibrox. McGhee, a boyhood Celtic fan, should not make the same mistake.

 

3 Make progress in Europe

 

No matter what some supporters say about Calderwood's reign, there's no denying those European nights against FC Copenhagen and Bayern Munich during the 2007/08 campaign brought a special atmosphere back to Pittodrie, not to mention significant financial benefits.

 

No-one, of course, will be expecting McGhee to recreate the success the Dons had on the continent during his time as a player, but director of football Willie Miller has already said that making the group stages of the Europa League is key.

 

4 End the Ibrox hoodoo

 

Rangers supporters in the bottom tier of the Broomloan Stand have a banner that gets unfurled whenever Aberdeen visit. Usually unveiled a few minutes before full-time, it reads 'Silence of the sheep – since 91'.

 

The Dons have not won away to Rangers for 18 long years and McGhee would almost be afforded hero status if he brought the hoodoo to an end.

 

5 Buy a central defender

 

With captain Scott Severin seemingly on his way out, Lee Mair having already left and Andrew Considine still struggling to find consistency, the new manager needs to find a solid centre-half to partner Zander Diamond at the heart of an Aberdeen defence that made far too many basic errors last season. Jamie Langfield was arguably the best keeper in the SPL in the campaign just ended but he was often let down by those in front of him.

 

6 Recruit another striker

 

Like most SPL clubs outwith the Old Firm, Aberdeen could do with a 20-goals-a-season striker. Darren Mackie has scored important goals for the club but not nearly enough, Chris Maguire improved last season but still can't be described as prolific, while last year's summer signing Tommy Wright has failed to make an impact at Pittodrie.

 

Target-man Lee Miller, the club's top scorer last season with ten SPL goals, will likely be McGhee's first-choice striker but he needs a partner.

 

7 Keep an eye on indiscipline

 

Aberdeen players don't exactly have bad-boy reputations, but McGhee will perhaps be slightly alarmed by reports last month of midfielder Mark Kerr being injured and charged following a nightclub altercation – an incident that came just days before a game that the club needed to win to qualify for the Europa League. Banning midweek stag dos would seem like a sensible idea.

 

8 Play free-flowing, attacking football

 

McGhee, who favours a 4-3-3 formation, earned a reputation for attractive football during his time at Fir Park, especially during that successful first season when he took the club to third place. Calderwood brought exciting players like Sone Aluko and Jamie Smith to Pittodrie but his team were regularly accused of just punting high balls up to Miller.

 

9 Nurture the club's youngsters

 

The first-team performances of 18-year-old Peter Pawlett, and Michael Paton, 20, towards the end of last season were a real fillip for Aberdeen supporters. Paton scored a decent goal – albeit a consolation – at Ibrox in the 'Kyle Lafferty match' after the split, while Pawlett was given a standing ovation when he was substituted in the win over Hibs on the final day of the season.

 

The club is also well represented in the Scotland under-age teams and, with money likely to be in short supply, McGhee will probably have to let the youngsters stake their claim for a regular start.

 

10 Avoid Jimmy Calderwoodisms

 

There were many things (no matter how trivial) that Calderwood did during his five years at Pittodrie which seemed to annoy a section of the Pittodrie faithful.

 

So McGhee would be well advised not to develop a Cuprinol-like tan. Or treat himself to a holiday in Santa Ponsa. Or name drop the likes of Jaap Stam and Raymond Van Barneveld. Or use the word "sloppy" in his post-match interviews. And he definitely shouldn't say that Aberdeen fans' expectations are too high because of the glory days they enjoyed during the Eighties.

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Or at least get to a final. Despite his relatively poor form in the Premier League, Ebbe Skovdahl was revered by many Aberdeen supporters for taking the club to two Hampden finals in 2000. Jimmy Calderwood, on the other hand, had a decent record in the SPL but was dismissed last month for failing to make progress in the cup competitions

 

Maybe its more the teams we went out of the cups to than just going out..

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So McGhee would be well advised not to develop a Cuprinol-like tan. Or treat himself to a holiday in Santa Ponsa. Or name drop the likes of Jaap Stam and Raymond Van Barneveld. Or use the word "sloppy" in his post-match interviews. And he definitely shouldn't say that Aberdeen fans' expectations are too high because of the glory days they enjoyed during the Eighties.

:lolabove:

 

 

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