Aberdeen fans should be viewing Celtic crisis with relish - instead, they are putting on masks and protesting
Aberdeen supporters are a creative, witty lot when it comes to banners, from that “Concomitant you Dons” one from a few years ago at Dens Park to a less seemly example of the genre dating from Gothenburg days celebrating Peter Weir’s ability to lay on more balls than Emmanuelle.
The fact the recent examples that appeared on social media lacked similar wit and invention summed up the mood among fans of the Pittodrie club at present. They are fed up and not inclined to make the effort. “Times Up Derek” was one banner held up outside the ground by masked fans earlier this week, with reference to manager Derek McInnes.
The message seemed designed to contain an additional punch: if the players were not going to bother against Ross County, against whom they had lost 4-1 a few days earlier, then they were not going to bother with punctuation.
These are stark, troubled times at Pittodrie and they’ve gone somewhat under the radar due to events elsewhere. That was until the news from Dingwall began to filter through in the form of multiple goal flashes, the first coming a matter of seconds in. Aberdeen’s attempt to recover was considered lamentable. It was, according to one fans’ Twitter site, a sackable result in itself.
The supporters viewing the current Celtic crisis with the most relish, after Rangers fans, should be sporting Aberdeen colours. They should be viewing this as an opportunity to secure a Champions League qualifying spot. In this of all seasons, when second place delivers such an exceptional prize, the position is truly up for grabs. Fans are finding it hard to forgive their side’s current inability to capitalise on Celtic's stuttering form.
Rather than taking advantage of Celtic dropping four points in two recent home fixtures, Aberdeen were falling to that eye-catching defeat in Dingwall, and, prior to that, failing to score at home against Dundee United. Instead of lapping up the daily diet of news from Parkhead, fans are putting on masks and pinning up banners outside Pittodrie to try and implement change.
We are back here again. It’s an almost annual event in recent years and a new owner, a brighter, more engaged outlook, hasn’t changed that. Some supporters despair that McInnes seems untouchable after eight years. The manager would argue, reasonably, that he has delivered annual European campaigns.
A year ago, Aberdeen were about to begin a run of five games without scoring so much as a goal. The knives were out for McInnes then as well. A 3-1 win at Hamilton brought things back from the brink, something the manager has proved adept at doing.
When the season was curtailed, the Pittodrie side were lying fourth, which was the second successive season they had finished in what many Aberdeen fans would contend is an unacceptable position.
They are presently also fourth following a period of uninspiring form, and results, hence the banners. In the absence of games which they are permitted to attend, this is one of the few forms of protest left to supporters. McInnes, who faces reporters on Saturday to preview Saturday's home clash with Motherwell, will grant them this surely. He will, doubtless, contest their view that he’s had sufficient time and, as it stands, Aberdeen are going nowhere fast.
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