ALTHOUGH he admitted it had to be marked down as a “goalkeeping error”, Aberdeen manager Craig Brown yesterday refused to criticise Jamie Langfield after the 33-year-old’s latest mistake gifted Dundee United a goal in an entertaining 2-2 draw at Pittodrie yesterday.
Langfield fumbled a cross by Johnny Russell and was horrified to see the ball then cross the line. The Tannoy man at Pittodrie credited Willo Flood, who was present at the near post, with the goal. But, regrettably for Langfield, there was no escaping that it had been an own goal.
The ’keeper said sorry to his team-mates in the dressing-room afterwards, although Brown said Langfield had nothing to apologise for. According to the Aberdeen manager, if the strikers had taken their chances, then the home side would have won in any case. “Langfield didn’t explain what happened and I didn’t ask him,” said Brown. “It was a goalkeeping error. I don’t individually criticise. Up at the other end Niall [McGinn] missed a chance that was crucial and wee Ryan Fraser could have headed in the rebound.
“So if we are going to make complaints about the defenders we must make complaints against the forwards, too. That’s only fair. But I’m complimenting my team on a second-half fight-back that didn’t finish with a victory. But there was only ever going to be one team that won the game today, in my opinion. Unfortunately we never managed it.”
With only five league wins at Pittodrie in all of 2012, Aberdeen had wanted to mark the new year with a victory in front of a healthy home crowd of over 13,000. However, having scored first through Scott Vernon, Aberdeen conceded two goals to United before half-time, with Gavin Gunning heading the equaliser for the visitors. Ten minutes before half-time Langfield made his slip but McGinn’s 15th goal of the season from a free-kick earned Aberdeen a point.
The match was notable for the number of young players on show. Aberdeen fielded three teenagers and one 20-year-old, in Joe Shaughnessy. Meanwhile, Dundee United manager Peter Houston created club history by naming John Souttar in his starting line-up. At the age of 16 years and 100 days, Souttar is now United’s youngest ever first-team starter.
“He was nervous at the start playing ten-yard passes,” said Houston. “One of the things he has in him is 60-yard range in passing. He is very, very good on the ball and he will be a player for Dundee United at centre-half eventually because I rate him so highly. I was not frightened to put him in today.”
Although his side conceded another two goals, Houston was delighted to earn a point from Pittodrie after a torrid Christmas period. In the previous four games before yesterday United had conceded 11 goals. Houston is now on the look-out for reinforcements and is hopeful that chairman Stephen Thompson will allow him to bring in one player during the transfer window, with loan-signing Milos Lacny having now returned to Sparta Prague. “I do have a defender coming in to have a look at,” he confirmed. “I won’t say who he is but he is a foreigner and he has played in the SPL.”