How Aberdeen went from hitting 'rock bottom' to the Premiership's team on the rise

You can describe football in so many ways. Volatile, entertaining, fickle, frustrating, fun. It toys with your emotions. More than anything it’s just nuts.

Aberdeen celebrate Lewis Ferguson's winning goal against Hearts. (Photo by Craig Foy / SNS Group)
Aberdeen celebrate Lewis Ferguson's winning goal against Hearts. (Photo by Craig Foy / SNS Group)

Two weeks ago, Aberdeen chairman Dave Cormack took to the airwaves to defend under pressure manager Stephen Glass and explain the process of what has been a topsy turvy start to a new era at Pittodrie.

It came less than 48 hours after the Dons had been humbled at Dundee, their fifth straight defeat. Midfielder Lewis Ferguson called it “rock bottom”.

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Yet, fast forward to Saturday at 4.53pm, Aberdeen, who had appeared down and out, resembled The Undertaker rising off the canvas as they jumped into the top six.

Ferguson rose to meet Dylan McGeouch's corner. (Photo by Craig Foy / SNS Group)

A 2-1 win over Hearts, ending the Tynecastle Park side’s unbeaten record in the league, came off the back of a win over Hibs and draw with Rangers.

If the crowd were down and disgruntled at Dens Park, they were jubilant and impassioned at Pittodrie.

“We couldn’t stay on that run, it felt like rock bottom, I said that at the time,” match-winner Ferguson explained.

“I was just being honest, it wasn’t good enough and we had to turn it around.

"But maybe these games, Hibs, Rangers, Hearts, were what we needed. Maybe people looking from the outside might have thought it was a bad run of games when you’re not playing great.

“But it probably came at a good time for us. They took care of themselves.

“We managed to take points and it has been a really good week’s work.”

A hallmark of the upturn in form has been the work on the training pitch and influence of Scott Brown.

Glass has shown his tactical nous to deal with injuries, to set the team up to defend better but also to control the game and attack with purpose. Ferguson also noted the work of coach Allan Russell with goals coming from set pieces.

“We were told at half-time the standard wasn’t good enough," he said.

“We changed shape a little bit, we brought Broony back into the middle of the park and that freed up myself, Dylan [McGeouch] and Marley [Watkins] as well.

“We spoke about it at half-time, as soon as you score when you’re 1-0 down this place erupts and I think opposition teams really feel that.

“So as soon as we got the goal back it was only going one way.”

He added: “We spend a lot of time working on them with Allan Russell, we go through it on video a lot.

“You’ve seen in the past week or so it is paying off, these are ones we have worked on.

“So credit goes to the staff for coming up with these set-pieces, and showing us them and making us practice them in training. When you put the work in you get your results.”

Ferguson, who hopes to be in the Scotland squad named by Steve Clarke on Tuesday, has called on the team to build on this run, starting with Motherwell at home on Saturday.

“We can’t just turn up for these big games and produce performances," he said. “We have to do it week in, week out.

“We’re at a big club, success is demanded of you, so we need to go and produce winning performances every single week.”

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