Aberdeen’s short-term prospects will look a lot brighter with a win against Celtic tomorrow, but Thursday is a much more significant date for the club’s long-term future when their much delayed training complex is officially opened by Sir Alex Ferguson.
One only wonders what the Dons’ greatest ever manager would have achieved with access to the sort of facilities available at the new £12.5 million Cormack Park development which boasts three professional grass pitches and two artificial ones.
Instead one of European football’s finest sides of the early 80s often had to check if the tide was out on the nearby beach before training sessions and things haven’t got a lot better since according to current manager Derek McInnes.
The lack of proper facilities was his major gripe when taking on the job in March 2013, just as it had been for several predecessors as various projects fell by the wayside down the decades.
That was a until the plans for the Kingsford site, which also include a new stadium due to be delivered in 2022, were finally approved after a lengthy legal battle that included key testimony on the benefits of the scheme from McInnes himself.
Now the wait is almost over as the players finally move in during next month’s international break but it’s what the facilities, that include a community sports hub and youth academy, will mean now and for the long-term future that really matters.
“The facility is top class, the club have done a great job getting it done” said McInnes. “It has run over and has cost more than we expected it to cost, but it’s a game-changer for Aberdeen football club for decades to come. This is what should have been here decades ago.
“We’ve been doing what we have for the last six years despite what our competitors have. We are still travelling to training on minibuses, which isn’t ideal, but thankfully that will be a thing of the past in a few weeks’ time.
“We are elite and professional in everything we do and this facility will enhance that massively. I am not saying we will take our performance up a few levels straight away once we move into it, but the positive impact will be felt right throughout the club. It will give everyone a boost, the first-team players and staff as well as the youth coaches and that side of it. It’s an exciting time, all the staff have been up but we haven’t taken the players yet because I want them to get the full experience when we do go there.”
It’s a busy week ahead for McInnes who also has games at Hamilton on Wednesday and Kilmarnock at Pittodrie next Saturday to prepare for after tomorrow’s meeting Celtic.
Aberdeen took just a single point from their four league meetings last season as well as losing to them in both cup competitions while failing to score in five of those six matches. Despite that, and a traumatic five-goal thrashing against Rangers at Ibrox last month, McInnes is convinced the players available are capable of inflicting the same sort of damage on the champions as Hibernian and Livingston in their last two away games.
“I know that when we show our energy and aggression we can land a few blows on the better teams in this league” he added.“What happened at Ibrox isn’t lingering, you have to take what comes on the back of that result.
“Then you have to strike back and I think we have done that in the last two games. I wouldn’t say the performances have been brilliant but we’ve showed that we can do what it takes to win points in this league.”