Craig Brown: Aberdeen can still clinch second spot

Gavin Rae, left, battles with Dundee's Iain Davidson during Aberdeen's 2-0 win in October. Picture: SNS
Gavin Rae, left, battles with Dundee's Iain Davidson during Aberdeen's 2-0 win in October. Picture: SNS
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CRAIG Brown insists Aberdeen can still claim the coveted runners-up spot in the Clydesdale Bank Premier League this season despite a poor start to the year.

The Dons currently sit in eighth position in the table but are just five points behind second-placed Inverness. And manager Brown sees no reason why his side cannot bridge the gap if they can put together a decent run starting with tonight’s home clash with Dundee.

He said: “We want success and to finish as high in the SPL as possible. Second place is a target. I am optimistic, always. Second place is five points ahead of us so we need a couple of wins to get in touch and I think we’ve got the capability within the squad to get the wins.”

Aberdeen have failed to pick up a single win in 2013 but Brown insists it is too early to judge the success of their campaign.

He said: “I’ll look at the table at the end of the season, that is when the table counts.

“You look at the fixtures and think there are points to be gained. I think every manager will be saying the same it’s just who gets the points. Well see at the end where we finish.”

According to Brown, the Pittodrie outfit simply need Lady Luck on their side in their coming games. He added: “We need a break. We’ve missed two penalty kicks this year, which are critical, but I am not too displeased with the way we are playing, in particular the way we are defending.

“No one is finding it easy to score against Aberdeen. We just need to score and I think there will be a transformation in our fortunes.”

Dundee travel to the Granite City 15 points adrift at the bottom of the SPL but Brown is taking nothing for granted.

He said: “Every game with Dundee is a close game. Just because they are at the bottom and detached a bit, I don’t think for one minute that it will be an easy game. In fact, it makes them more dangerous.”

Brian Easton aims to show Dundee have the fight to stay in the SPL if the clash with Aberdeen turns into a “battle” on a poor Pittodrie pitch.

The Dons’ pitch has cut up badly in recent months and this week’s rain and snow will ensure the surface is still not conducive to good football.

Dundee have tried to play their way out of trouble but fell 15 points adrift last weekend after losing 2-0 at home to Ross County. And Easton hopes the heavy Pittodrie park works in their favour as their relegation battle becomes critical. “I’ve seen it a couple of times and we have spoken a bit about it during the week,” the former Hamilton and Burnley left-back said. “It’s not a pitch to be playing attractive football but it’s a game where we are going to have to go in, regardless of how the pitch is, ready to fight for our lives.

“It might work out to our advantage. It is going to turn into a battle and it’s really about who wants it more. We really need to want it more.”

Easton has bad memories of Pittodrie this season having suffered a hamstring injury in October less than four minutes into his second appearance for Dundee. The 24-year-old did not return to the first team until last month and his absence was typical of a season that has seen Barry Smith do without the likes of captain Stephen O’Donnell and forward Carl Finnigan for most of the campaign.

But Easton feels he can now fully contribute to a revival as Dundee aim to give themselves a glimmer of hope. “This season has been frustrating because I missed nearly all the first half of the season,” he said.

“Since the turn of the year I have been in every game. I’ve been happy with how I’m playing. My fitness has been getting better and better so hopefully it can keep improving and we can turn that into good team performances.

“We have had more than our fair share of players out with middle to long-term injuries, which is tough for the whole team and the manager. We have done what we can but 
obviously find ourselves bottom of the league. It’s important we don’t get too disheartened. If you look at the table, it’s not the best, and we know it’s going to be hard, but if we get a few wins on the board before the spilt we will leave ourselves with a wee chance anyway.”