There are many things from life before lockdown we would be delighted to welcome back, literally, with open arms. Thanks but no thanks, Aberdeen, a goal drought isn’t one of them.
It was last February when Kilmarnock battled through the gales to Pittodrie and played out a virtually chanceless stalemate with a Dons side registering a club record-equalling fifth straight game without scoring. A huge amount has changed since then – even in the Aberdeen starting line, half of whose outfield members were not around 12 months ago – but sadly, the basic dysfunctionality of this team is not among them.
Such perfect replication of the Dons’ grim futility of 2020 is a truly extraordinary thing. In the club’s entire recorded history to that point, only one season – 1972-73 – contained so lengthy a run of blanks. If Derek McInnes thought matching this once was misfortune, to do it twice in succession is careless to a fault.
It does not speak of year-on-year progress and, when the benchmark is five full matches of producing absolutely nothing, inability to improve is quite a staggering feat in itself.
It cannot continue. While the Dons were stuck in neutral they’ve been losing ground quickly to their rivals, to the point where finishing in the top three – the low end of the club’s tolerance band and a must to both justify and maintain its playing budget – now looks an outside prospect.
Falling short of third would represent failure for a third consecutive season and this time would come with substantial consequences in terms of European entry and prize money.
If the club has to absorb that loss, it’s inevitable some of the individuals responsible will carry the can, and validity of their complaints would be nil.