Talk about end-of-season emotions running high. Shay Logan, the Aberdeen defender, didn’t miss Celtic’s Kris Commons just minutes after the Parkhead club had officially been confirmed champions for the fourth consecutive season.
It’s not that Logan feels the Parkhead side are not deserving of their latest title success, which came on the back of a quite valiant effort from runners-up Aberdeen to become the first club outwith the Old Firm since way back in 1985 to savour that particular accolade.
Instead, what riled Logan more than anything was Commons claiming last week, just as Ronny Deila’s side were homing in on the Norwegian’s first Premiership success, that Aberdeen never really presented a credible threat to Celtic’s hopes of once more flying the flag over Glasgow’s East End, despite Derek McIness’ men moving four points clear of the Parkhead club back in January as the race for the top-flight trophy began to grip the whole of Scottish football.
Those comments, as one might imagine, didn’t sit well within the proud Pittodrie dressing-room. Defender Logan, who has been a vital player for Aberdeen this season, reckoned Commons showed them gross disrespect and, with those words still ringing in his ears, hopes to use them as motivation for launching another crack at taking Celtic’s crown from them next season.
“It is disrespectful of Kris Commons to say there has been no title race,” said Logan after Saturday’s defeat on Tayside.
“It’s all well and good saying that when he needed us to lose a game but he wasn’t saying that two months ago and wasn’t saying that when his team played us.
“That’s his opinion and fair play to him and Celtic for winning the league. But they have to play us next week and we hope to right a few wrongs in the game.
“I’m very proud of the team and the way we have performed this season.
“It wasn’t the best game for us on Saturday but we’ve performed well this season and it just wasn’t to be. Last season we were third, this year we are second and maybe next year it will be first.
“The head-to-head games have been a factor but there were a couple which we shouldn’t have lost.
“But that’s football and you have to put the ball back in the net when you are on top. Celtic have been more clinical against us but we have a good mindset at our club.
“I would never have a go at a team that has won the league but there has been a few bobbles here and there and some decisions which have gone their way.”
Aberdeen simply ran out of the kind of energy which has been characteristic of their overall play for the season, and were unable to pull off a comeback after Robbie Muirhead’s well-taken 13th minute winner killed off any lingering hopes they’d harboured of extending their challenge until Celtic’s visit to the Granite City on Sunday.
While Celtic eye their own foray in the glamour of the Champions League arena next season, the Dons already have their own domestic plans underway which they hope will see them crank up the pressure even further at the summit of the table.
Logan said: “I’m not despondent.
“Celtic have won the league by 20 or 30 points before and, with the resources they’ve got, they should. But we have a great team and manager so we can get closer. We’re very close and next season we can get that little bit closer.
“We have come a long way but, with the money Celtic have, everyone expects them to win the season by February and March. We’ve pushed them every step of the way and next season, with a few more players, we can push them a little bit more.”
Logan holds a respect for Deila’s side which he feels wasn’t shown in return by Commons but not for a minute does he confuse it with fear.
With that gap at the top narrowing between the champions and other potential challengers, the former Manchester City player maintains they are far from scared at the prospect of going head-to-head with Celtic again.
He said: “I can’t predict the future but Celtic are not the side of previous years. They are a very good team still and, despite what has happened between me and them in the past, I have a lot of respect for them.
“But they are not invincible. The games we have played have been very close and we don’t fear playing anyone in this league, especially at Pittodrie.
“We were the better team in the first 25 minutes of this game but didn’t capitalise and paid the price. From there, United had a gust of wind and their tails were up.
“There was a sloppiness to our game which isn’t normally there and it just wasn’t to be. We’re disappointed to lose but, when you look at the bigger picture, we are pleased with what we have achieved.”
For United, Europe remains a realistic target and one which Charlie Telfer, their midfielder, believes they can grasp having regained fourth place with this win.
“We have a bit of form back now and we are looking to pick up and secure as many points as we can between now and the end of the season,” said Telfer.
“First half of the season, we were brilliant. We got into the cup final and then we have had this bad patch. So it would be great if we could get a European spot.”