A defeat to Ross County on Saturday made it four home defeats on the bounce for Aberdeen. It was a continuation of a mixed season on home soil for the Red Army.
Curtis Main had given Aberdeen the lead but a Dean Campbell sending off and two Billy McKay goals later sent the Dons down to defeat. It allowed their main rivals for third during most of this season, Motherwell, to take over in that European position.
Over the course of this season, Derek McInnes’ side have won six of 14 fixtures at Pittodrie, losing five and drawing the other three. Despite this patchy home form they still remain fourth and a point off third.
It makes you wonder how strong a position the Dons could be in if they improved upon their home form.
Saturday was a disappointment. Aberdeen were widely expected to beat a County side who had only won one away game all season prior to the Pittodrie trip. McInnes partly blamed fatigue after 210 minutes of football in the six days prior to the County clash.
Campbell’s red card had an influence on proceedings but it didn’t make it any less disappointing when McKay hit a winner two minutes from time. It was a blow to their Europa League qualification tilt but not disastrous by any stretch.
It’s been nip and tuck in this race between Aberdeen and Motherwell, who have now been joined in the marathon by Hibs and Livingston. There’s certainly more than enough quality within the Aberdeen squad to reach Europa League football for the seventh season on the spin.
Curtis Main is hitting form with two goals in four recent starts, Andy Considine is playing as well as he ever has and young potential in Lewis Ferguson, Campbell, Bruce Anderson and Connor McLennan is there for all to see. That’s not even mentioning Sam Cosgrove who’s scored 21 goals this term, albeit he’s going through a tough spell, but it’s clear there’s enough talent to push for third.
But winning less than half your home games isn’t form that’ll get you over that third place line easily. Having nine points less than they did at this stage last term also doesn’t make for great reading.
Fans have called for McInnes’ departure and vented their frustrations on numerous occasions this season. The travelling support remains faithful, highlighted by selling out their Scottish Cup quarter final tickets against St Mirren, but apathy from the Pittodrie stands increases whenever a negative result is had.
Keeping the hardy faithful that turn up to Pittodrie and grounds across Scotland will be key. When everything is rosy, Aberdeen fans will back their team to the hill. An equally fierce revolt occurs when negatives are had and keeping the latter to a minimum should be one of McInnes’ main aims.
Finishing third would be a good achievement for Aberdeen but tests lie in wait both home and away. They’ll face the other three competitors in the race for Europe before the split and the Dons need to secure big victories in these matches. If this can’t be achieved, fans won’t have too much sympathy.