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10 most memorable games as Derek McInnes celebrates seven years as Aberdeen boss

Derek McInnes.
Derek McInnes.

Derek McInnes’ tenure as Aberdeen manager has brought arguably the greatest spell of consistency since Sir Alex Ferguson left the club in 1986.

European football has become a regular occurrence and the Dons have frequently appeared at the business end of domestic cup competitions.

There has been just one piece of silverware during his tenure – the 2014 League Cup – but the club is undoubtedly in a better competitive state than when he inherited the job, which was seven years ago today.

Here are 10 games from McInnes’ seven-year tenure which stick in the memory:

Motherwell 0 Aberdeen 2, League Cup quarter-final, October 30, 2013

This was the match that confirmed to me that McInnes was capable of bringing success to Aberdeen.

The Dons were up against it after Joe Shaughnessy was red carded after only 14 minutes.

McInnes’ responded by bringing on Andy Considine for Calvin Zola.

What followed was one of the most committed and well-organised defensive performances seen for years.

Andrew Considine (third from right) heads the ball home and give Aberdeen the lead late in the League Cup quarter-final against Motherwell.

Ultimately it paid off as Considine, so often a cup hero for the Dons, netted with seven minutes remaining.

Jonny Hayes made it two in time added on. It set up finally ending the 19 year trophy drought.

Aberdeen 2-1 Celtic, Scottish Premiership, February 25 2014

Jonny Hayes opened the scoring four minutes before half-time and in the process, ended Fraser Forster’s record clean-sheet run.

Adam Rooney doubled the lead before half-time and, despite James Forrest pulling a goal back in the second half, the Dons held on.

Aberdeen 0-0 Caley Thistle (Aberdeen win 4-2 on penalties), League Cup final, March 16 2014

In a dire game, with neither side showing particular urgency to win the game, the Dons emerged triumphant on penalties to win their first silverware since 1995.

Billy Mckay and future Don Greg Tansey missed from the spot, allowing Rooney to tuck away the decisive spot-kick.

Adam Rooney, right, secured the League Cup with the decisive spot-kick.
Aberdeen 5-0 Daugava Riga, Europa League, July 3 2014

The Dons’ return to European football proved a fruitful one as they thumped the nine-man Latvian side at Pittodrie.

Shay Logan, Niall McGinn, a Rooney brace and another from Hayes sent the Pittodrie faithful home happy.

Caley Thistle 1-2 Aberdeen, Scottish Premiership, April 25 2015

Victory over the Caley Jags on their own turf effectively secured second spot for the Dons, a position they would not relinquish for several seasons.

Edward Ofere had put the Scottish Cup finalists in front, before a David Raven own-goal and McGinn’s strike five minutes later nudged the Dons over the line.

Aberdeen 2-1 Celtic, Scottish Premiership, February 3 2016

Aberdeen blew the title race wide open with a win that moved them to within three points of league leaders Celtic.

Jonny Hayes fired the Dons ahead with a sensational 25 yard drive after 31 minutes.

Soon after, Welsh international striker Simon Church, bundled home from close range to net on his debut.

Simon Church celebrates

Leigh Griffiths netted in injury time, but it was no more than a consolation for a well-beaten Celtic side.

This was the season that will leave Aberdeen fans with regret and thoughts of “what if”.

Following this win, the Reds would move to within one point of Celtic after 30 games, although the Hoops had a game in hand.

A 2-1 loss at Motherwell on March 18 killed all momentum and the Dons would collapse post-top six split.

Ultimately they finished 15 points behind champions Celtic. So near… but yet so far

Dundee 0-7 Aberdeen, Scottish Premiership, March 31 2017

The biggest away win under McInnes came courtesy of a memorable hat-trick from Considine.

Rooney, Kenny McLean, Ryan Jack and McGinn were also on the scoresheet in the rout at Dens Park.

Celtic 2-1 Aberdeen, Scottish Cup final, May 27 2017

Tom Rogic’s goal prevented Aberdeen winning their first Scottish Cup since 1990.

The two sides had swapped early goals between Hayes and Stuart Armstrong, before Rogic broke Aberdeen hearts in the closing moments of the game.

Aberdeen came close to winning the Scottish Cup, until Tom Rogic broke Dons hearts.
Celtic 0-1 Aberdeen, Scottish Premiership, May 13 2018

Needing a victory to cement second spot for the fourth season in a row, Aberdeen won at Celtic Park for the first time in 14 years thanks to Andy Considine’s goal.

Coupled with Rangers’ dramatic 5-5 draw with Hibernian at Easter Road, it was mission accomplished for the Dons in Glasgow.

Aberdeen 1-0 Rangers, Betfred Cup semi-final, October 28 2018

The year when the Dons proved they could cut it in Glasgow, Lewis Ferguson scored the vital goal that beat Rangers at Hampden Park and sealed a spot in the Betfred Cup final.

Aberdeen’s Lewis Ferguson celebrates after making it 1-0 against Rangers in the League Cup semi-final at Hampden.

McInnes’ side would go on to beat Rangers twice more, both wins coming at Ibrox as they won 1-0 in the Premiership and 2-0 in a Scottish Cup replay.