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Willie Miller column: Aberdeen defenders must get angry with themselves at lack of clean sheets

Aberdeen's Declan Gallagher during the 2-0 Premiership loss at Motherwell.
Aberdeen's Declan Gallagher during the 2-0 Premiership loss at Motherwell.

Aberdeen defenders need to get angry with themselves that they are not keeping clean sheets.

The 2-0 loss at Motherwell was the ninth successive game the Dons have failed to keep the ball out of their own net.

You have to go all the way back to the opening Premiership game of the season when Aberdeen beat Dundee United on August 1 for the last clean sheet.

Aberdeen’s defenders must start cherishing clean sheets because they are the foundation all success is built upon.

A shut out should be the prize. The clue is in the name – you are there to defend.

Making sure the defensive part of the game is solid is absolutely fundamental.

Aberdeen’s Jack MacKenzie (left) holds off Motherwell’s Callum Slattery at Fir Park.

Aberdeen are creating opportunities, dominating possession but also leaving themselves open at the back.

It is trying to get that balance right and I am sure manager Stephen Glass will be working on that.

Frustratingly the attackers are also failing to make the most of their possession and chances created in recent games.

If you are not converting opportunities at one end and leaking at the other it is a recipe that no manager wants.

When you have issues at both ends it is frustrating – and concerning.

You cannot go through the season having the majority of possession and scoring chances but still losing games.

The whole point of a football match is to collect points.

Yes, you want to entertain and you want to dominate possession and have shots at goal but you have to be pragmatic about it and get that balance right to get results.

Manager Stephen Glass must be hugely frustrated that although they are doing most things right they were still on the end of a 2-0 defeat at Motherwell.

It will be a sore one to take.

When you suffer a 2-0 defeat it is difficult to hang it on how many chances you created when you don’t take them.

Aberdeen manager Stephen Glass during the 2-0 loss to Motherwell in the Premiership.

I like the intent that Glass has set up this season in terms of Aberdeen being on the front foot with full backs pushing up the pitch and having plenty of possession.

However they need to turn that into goals and wins.

It is too early to start getting uptight about it as Glass has strengthened the squad and it looks good.

He certainly has fire power and the stats are saying all the right things – apart from the most important one which is a recent lack of points.

Aberdeen manager Stephen Glass is left dejected after the 2-0 loss at Motherwell.

There is also reason to hope the lack of clean sheets will be sorted due to the quality of defender Glass has at his disposal.

Aberdeen have international defenders playing at the back.

Centre-backs Declan Gallagher and recent signing David Bates are both Scotland internationals whilst right-back Calvin Ramsay, only 18-years-old,  was recently capped at U21 level.

Ross McCrorie is an U21 captain and has been called up to the senior squad previously.

Aberdeen’s Andy Considine is stretchered off injured early in the Europa Conference League tie.

There is no doubt the experience and presence of Andy Considine is missed.

Unfortunately Scotland international Considine is out until the new year after cruciate ligament surgery having picked up the knee injury against Qarabag in the Europa Conference League play-off first leg in Azerbaijan.

Considine’s absence will have an impact because he has been in that defence for such a long time and always played an important role in being solid at the back.

Aberdeen have always had a reputation of being mean defensively to the opposition.

Aberdeen’s new signing David Bates and Ryan Hedges pre-match at Pittodrie for the clash with Ross County.

There are enough internationals in the defence to take responsibility to make sure during Considine’s absence they do not give away as many goals as they are at the moment.

That has to start in Saturday’s clash against St Johnstone at Pittodrie.

Aberdeen have dropped down to sixth spot in the Premiership and need to build up some winning momentum again.

They can only do that if they keep clean sheets and if chances are converted.

Superb Scotland deliver mammoth win

Scotland’s World Cup qualifying aspirations received a mammoth boost with an outstanding 1-0  qualifier win in Austria.

Steve Clarke’s Scots have now pushed into pole position to finish runners-up in Group F behind runway leaders Denmark.

Finishing runners-up would secure a play-off spot in March.

Scotland’s Lyndon Dykes makes it 1-0 from the penalty spot against Austria in the World Cup qualifier.

It couldn’t have been a better few days for manager Clarke as most people expected Austria to beat Israel.

When Austria were taken apart by 5-2 by Israel it opened the door slightly for Scotland to take advantage of it.

Scotland smashed down that door with the defeat of Austria which was the first significant competitive victory away from home in more than a decade.

Looking at the fixtures you have to say Scotland are now favourites to finish runners-up in the group behind runaway leaders Denmark.

Scotland have Israel at home on October 9 before facing the two group minnows Faroe Islands and Moldova.

Then it is a huge clash against group leaders Denmark at Hampden in the last game of the campaign.

Scotland have a clear opportunity to reach the play-offs but must take care of Israel next month.

I would think the mood in the Scotland camp must be that they can do that.

The Scotland players celebrate at full time of the 1-0 World Cup qualifier defeat of Austria.

The magnitude of the result against a side of the quality of Austria in Vienna cannot be underplayed– it was absolutely huge.

Results like that are what secures qualification for major tournaments.

Scotland have very much put themselves in the driving seat.

Uncertainty over vaccine passports

I hope the imminent introduction of the vaccine certification scheme for some football matches will be short lived.

Scottish football fans will need to show evidence of being double vaccinated at games with a crowd of 10,000 or over from October 1.

Aberdeen’s home Premiership clash with Celtic on October 3 will be one of the first games affected by that.

Scotland’s crunch Group F World Cup qualifier against Israel at Hampden the following week, which is already a sell out, would also require fans to show proof of being double vaccinated.

I understand where the Scottish government are coming from in trying to put in measures to control the spread of the virus.

Aberdeen supporters pack out Pittodrie.

They are maybe concerned it might spike during the winter.

There will be a lot of people double vaccinated but there will also be some fans who aren’t and don’t want to be.

I feel for the supporters that don’t want to be double vaccinated but want to attend football games.

After supporters were locked out of stadia for more than a year due to coronavirus lockdown restrictions there was hope it would be a smooth transition for fans to get back into games.

It was a tough time for supporters who had been starved of football for so long.

You can see at games now the pure joy and passion of fans to be back inside stadiums and cheering on their team.

I hope clubs can cope with the administration of allowing fans in and not allowing those that are not double vaccinated.

Lets hope the use of these vaccine passports to get into football games is short and sharp and doesn’t last for too long.

Hopefully there will be freedom of choice to walk into a football game in the not too distant future.

This article originally appeared on the Evening Express website. For more information, read about our new combined website.