It’s just turned midday local time here in Doha at the time of writing and there are still sometime to kill before kick-off – chewing my nails and pacing my apartment thinking of what might be later this evening at Tynecastle.
Some may suggest I need to get a grip (my suffering wife for a start) but these feelings and emotions are attached to the impact my team has had on me so far this season. To be honest, I would not have it any other way, I can’t begin to tell you how incredible it feels knowing the Dons could go into the split within touching distance of Celtic. God I love football!
A win for the Dons tonight puts them just two points behind Ronny Deila’s side with the green and white hoops facing a potentially tricky game at Fir Park on Saturday afternoon against the nation’s current form side Motherwell.
I am under no illusions that the task facing the Dons tonight is a tough one after all Aberdeen have only won once in their last nine visits to the capitol, a concerning and gut wrenching stat!
It’s going to take a mammoth effort to gain the vital three points later but with our current form and new found belief, there is absolutely no reason why the lads can’t come away with all three points.
Last weekend against Hamilton, Aberdeen played as well as I have seen them all season, especially the first half.
Tonight though the Dons will need to replicate that type of performance but this time over 90 minutes. The job was done in the opening 45 minutes versus Accies so I can forgive the lads for taking the foot off the gas because in the words of Derek McInnes: “….at this time of the season it’s all about the result.”
Tonight though is a different kettle of fish with an opponent still believing they can pinch Aberdeen for second place.
I have every faith the Dons will score tonight. Jonny Hayes as I’ve said before is playing at a different level; he has me off my feet every time he picks up the ball. Niall McGinn is as dangerous as ever drifting in from the flanks. Kenny McLean is bossing games like I always knew he would after signing from St Mirren and you don’t need me to bang on about Graeme Shinnie after my previous column.
On-loan striker Simon Church has fitted in like he’s been at the club for years not just a handful of months. All these ingredients make for goals, if the Dons show a ruthless streak which I still believe is swimming just under the surface the Hearts back four could be in for a busy evening.
But for me the key to winning the game is how the Dons defend, the back-four MUST stand firm. Personally, I hope lessons have been learnt from the recent defeat against Motherwell, when in-front the lads need to defend like warriors, no-nonsense defending is the key to winning the game.
As much as the game will be played on the park it will also be played in the mind. There is no room for hesitation or thought tonight, if in doubt boot the ball high and mighty into the Edinburgh sky. I don’t care if corners or throw-in’s are given away in dangerous areas, clear the lines, re-group and stand firm again.
It could be pivotal.
But with that, all said and done no matter what the outcome, I like so many other Dons fans will be incredibly proud of what has been achieved so far by the Pittodrie men. They have given us belief, hope and a purpose. I know many of you reading this column will suggest it’s a fake hope but unless you have been through what many of those that were born of my generation (early 70’s) it’s almost impossible to convey those emotions on paper.
There is nothing wrong with having hope or dreams, just ask any Leicester City fan!
Ally Begg’s column is sponsored by Dolly Digital, a freelance Graphic and New Media Design Studio based in Aberdeen. Check out their Aberdeen FC-related products now.