Derek McInnes will take his team to Edinburgh this weekend to play a resurgent Hibs side – signalling the start of a pivotal week for the Dons. On the back of victory against Dundee United last Saturday, the Pittodrie men will play three games in the space of nine vital days.
Win, lose or draw at Easter Road on Saturday, there will be no time to dwell on it. Aberdeen board the bus again as they travel to Fir Park to face Stuart McCall’s Steelmen in Wednesday night’s League Cup quarter-final crunch.
McInnes will, no doubt, roll out the well-used cliché of “one game at a time” but the importance of the next 180 minutes of football in particular will be very much in his focus.
After a dreadful start to the season which saw the Leith side knocked out of Europe, suffering an embarrassing 9-0 aggregate defeat to Malmo and a pride-shattering derby loss to neighbours Hearts, the Easter Road faithful were calling for the head of Pat Fenlon. Gradually though, they found their feet and having earned a point from Celtic last week, they will be confident ahead of the Dons’ visit.
Many Dandies consider the trip to Lanarkshire as critical – and it’s hard to disagree. Aberdeen have failed to lift any silverware of note since the Coca-Cola Cup success over Dundee in 1995 and after the long-suffering supporters dared to dream of what might be after the convincing nature of Aberdeen’s win in the last round, defeat at the hands of Motherwell is a chilling thought.
Consecutive away trips against two of the divisions’ top forces would be a daunting prospect for most but McInnes’ troops will call on the backing of the Red Army, which will again head south in numbers. With 2,000 set to take their seats in the away end at Eater Road, Aberdeen will have been backed by more than 10,000 in away fixtures so far this term when the final whistle sounds tomorrow.
The Pittodrie gaffer may well have to utilise the options available to him, but he won’t be afraid to do so. The treatment room has cleared and with the return of influential figures Robson, Anderson and Flood, there will be more than enough in reserve to compensate, should the experienced trio require a rest.
Success in the next two games and this vital hat trick of encounters may well be rounded off in front of a bumper crowd when Partick Thistle visit the Granite City on Monday week. Lose, and the Dons could well be licking their wounds in front of Pittodrie’s lowest attendance so far this season.
Football, eh? Come on you Reds!