Aberdeen's worst away form since 1999/2000 is proving detrimental to European ambitions

Aberdeen could have played all night on Tuesday against St Mirren and not scored.

They dominated possession with 68 per cent. They completed 320 more passes than their opponents. They had 11 shots. Yet, Jak Alnwick wasn't really troubled.

The goalkeeper’s most testing moment was a cross-shot from Calvin Ramsay which was heading off target.

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Aberdeen fans were well within their right to voice their displeasure throughout the second half. A goal wasn’t forthcoming.

It was another testing travelling display. The large away contingent which follows the Dons around the country have had to endure below par performances at Dundee, Hibs, Dundee United and now St Mirren.

With a current points-per-game ratio of 0.73 away from home, only Dundee’s record is worse.

When you compare it to recent seasons, it is a damning figure. The last time it dropped below one point-per-game away from Pittodrie was the 2011/12 campaign.

You have to go back to the infamous 1999/2000 season for a worse away record. That was 0.61 points-per-game.

Aberdeen have not been good away from home this season. (Photo by Craig Foy / SNS Group)

‘Mental toughness’

Aberdeen’s results and performances outside the north east are proving hugely detrimental to the club’s European ambitions.

In the aftermath of the loss to St Mirren, Dons boss Stephen Glass spoke about a “certain amount of mental toughness”.

Captain Scott Brown talked bravery on the ball in difficult conditions and tricky venues.

Scott Brown has called on his Aberdeen team-mates to earn the right to play. (Photo by Craig Foy / SNS Group)
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“We have been behind a lot this season and always hit back and created chances and scored goals," he said. “Tuesday wasn't one of those days. We came here last time, we were fantastic in the first half, and we thought it was going to be a nice easy game.

"The pitch started to cut up and I think it just didn't suit us because it wasn't inch perfect. Sometimes we are going to have to deal with that in January and February, and even March and all the way through, when pitches aren't going to be great.

"It's not just that mental toughness but that toughness on the field, when to take the ball when it's bobbling up and be brave and put your body on the line.”

From the moment Grant Irvine signalled to start the game at the SMiSA Stadium, Aberdeen were up against it with St Mirren very well organised out of possession, applying pressure intelligently and showing an energy and intensity in possession. It wasn't matched by the visitors.

Earning the right to play

"Just that little bit of urgency higher up the park," Brown said when asked what was missing from the performance.

"They gave us a lot of time on the ball and let us have the ball at the back, but sometimes you need to mix and match a bit, sometimes you need to get it into the strikers, and it's that fighting spirit as well up the park. We didn't have that.

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“I think we thought we could just turn up and if we won the game we would be sitting in a nice position in the league. It doesn't work like that, you have got to earn the right to play, earn the right to go and win games.

"St Mirren defended really well, they had one shot on target and scored a fantastic goal. For us, it wasn't good enough, one shot on target, whether it's at home or away from home.”

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