PERHAPS Aberdeen should consider withdrawing from all cup competitions. These appear to have the capacity of inflicting only pain and misery on the club's faithful, and for sheer ineptitude last night's Active Nation Scottish Cup fifth-round replay home defeat at the hands of Raith Rovers is down there with the losses to lower division sides Queen's Park, Queen of the South and Dunfermline that disfigured Jimmy Calderwood's Pittodrie record.
• Raith defender Darren Smith keeps a close eye on Aberdeen's Sone Aluko last night. Picture: SNS Group
As Mark McGhee walked off at the end, the home supporters pitched scarves and season books at him. The Aberdeen manager might regret demeaning the efforts of the Kirkcaldy side when his team required a 95th-minute equaliser to save their skins in the original tie ten days ago. Last night he could only admire the way in which John McGlynn's side seemed to overcome all manner of fates that seemed to be conspiring against them with a 58th-minute goal from Gregory Tade that the bravery of their performance in the face of these fully merited.
To book a place in their first cup quarter-final in recent times – and a meeting with Dundee at Dens Park – they did not even really require to survive a concerted late onslaught from an Aberdeen team unrecognisable from the tigerish team who fought back from 4-2 down to draw with Celtic three days earlier.
• I deserved it, says Mark McGhee as Aberdeen fan spits at him
Raith, meanwhile, have had to grit teeth after a 4-0 drubbing at home to Inverness on Saturday gave way to concerns over the welfare of captain Mark Campbell, who was involved in a serious road accident on Monday lunchtime. Campbell remained in hospital last night for observation but fears he had suffered lasting injury appear, mercifully, unfounded.
Yet, that was not to be the only personnel setback McGlynn was forced to address. Another defender, Dougie Hill, injured himself in the warm-up and had to be replaced by Robert Sloan. However, because of the arcane nature of Scottish Cup rules concerning the proximity to kick-off of team-sheet amendments, the change was deemed a substitution and therefore meant McGlynn only had a further two he could make.
After all that, and after surviving an energised opening spell from Aberdeen in which Michael Paton and Steven MacLean might have scored, McGlynn was forced into further re-jigging with only 25 minutes played. Darren Mackie and Johnny Russell swung boots at the same ball and the Aberdeen forward inadvertently clattered his opponent on the ankle to end any further involvement by him.
Inside eight minutes, though, his replacement Darren Smith almost turned adversity into adornment, with a ripper of a drive from 20 yards. Only by sending himself airborne was Jamie Langfield able to put the effort on to the inside of his left-hand post.
Aberdeen's Zander Diamond failed to reappear for in the second period, his place taken by Derek Young. The big centre-back and Charlie Mulgrew both complained of a sickness and diarrhoea bug yesterday morning, with only Diamond feeling well enough to take part, though clearly not that well. Come the 58th minute, all those of an Aberdeen persuasion would have felt like retching as Tade was able to burst between Jerel Ifil and Young to fire in from close range a cross delivered by Allan Walker after he brilliantly burst down the right wing. They had a queasy feeling for the rest of the night and now it is McGhee who will surely feel sick to his stomach.
Aberdeen: Langfield, Foster, McDonald, Diamond (Young 46), Paterson, Kerr, MacLean, Mackie, Aluko, Ifil, Paton. Subs: Nelson, Grassi, Marshall, Fyvie.
Raith Rovers: McGurn, Wilson, Ferry, Murray, Hill, Walker, Williamson, Simmons, Smith, Tade, Russell. Subs: O'Connor, Wedderburn, Weir, Sloan, Smith.