If Aberdeen’s defensive troubles continue they will struggle to even finish in the top six.
Leaking goals has blighted Aberdeen’s season and it is an ongoing problem that proved extremely costly in the 2-0 loss to Motherwell.
The Dons have conceded 18 goals in the first 13 Premiership games and that is simply not good enough.
Until the defensive situation is resolved I don’t see Aberdeen’s situation improving – but it can still be fixed.
Motherwell mustered four shots in their two games against Aberdeen this season and scored with them all to take all six points.
The goals conceded to Motherwell were easily preventable – it’s not like we’re talking about screamers from 30 yards, deflections or bad luck.
It is just that issue of not defending properly.
If that defensive vulnerability can be rectified the quality of the squad is still there to be a top six team.
However the jury is still out.
Injured duo could have made a difference
Scotland international centre-backs Andy Considine and Declan Gallagher are both out injured and their experience might have made a difference.
However centre-backs Ross McCrorie and David Bates are no longer youngsters and also have enough experience- with summer signing Bates a Scotland international.
Its’s time McCrorie and Bates take on the responsibility and prove to manager Stephen Glass they are good enough to hold down that position.
The only way they can do that is by stopping leaking goals.
Unfortunately a lot of the goals are coming right through the middle of the defence.
There is a big challenge for these two in particular to stand up and prove they are what the manager thinks they are, that they are good defensive players.
First and foremost centre-backs should be good defenders.
If they can pass the ball thereafter that is a bonus.
Aberdeen conceded both goals to Motherwell by totally switching off defensively.
After that 10 minute period early in the second half the game was effectively over.
Motherwell’s two goals should have been prevented as they were scored by the main striker Kevin van Veen with the Steelmen only playing with one through the middle.
Yet van Veen managed to get himself free on two occasions early in the second half to score and that’s very poor from Aberdeen defensively.
It was refreshing that Aberdeen manager Stephen Glass came out and did not put forward any excuses and admitted it was not good enough.
That tells me Glass is aware of the issues.
The manager has to try to get the squad to look back at what they did right in the games against Hearts, Rangers and Hibs.
It had been a magnificent week prior to the Motherwell loss having secured wins against Hearts and Hibs as well as a draw away at Rangers.
That shows there is a quality within the squad that can compete at the top end of the table – but they are losing too many goals.
It is the level shown against Hearts, Rangers and Hibs that is required for the rest of the season.
One goal can win a game of football but if you are leaking at the other end the confidence of scoring a goal and getting a result is not going to be there.
Losing to Motherwell was a major set back because it offered an opportunity to continue to build momentum after recent positive results.
Aberdeen failed to take it despite dominating possession and creating half-chances.
The Dons’ shape and movement were both good in that first half and I thought Motherwell looked suspect defensively during that period.
However the Dons couldn’t find that attacking edge. Striker Christian Ramirez, who has been very good this season, was quite anonymous in the penalty box.
— Motherwell FC (@MotherwellFC) November 7, 2021
Aberdeen will have the international break to work on getting things right ahead of a tough game away to Dundee United.
One thing is certain – they will need to be much better defensively to get a win at Tannadice.
Glimmer of hope Hedges will sign a deal
If there is any glimmer of hope Ryan Hedges could sign a new Aberdeen deal the club’s chairman, board and manager must move to seize it.
There has been uncertainty over the future of the attacker as his contract with the Dons expires at the end of the season.
Aberdeen rejected a bid from Championship side Blackburn Rovers in the summer and there will likely be more interest in the January transfer window.
After the 2-0 loss to Motherwell at the weekend Hedges refused to rule out the possibility of penning a contract extension at Pittodrie.
That is positive news and keeps alive hope one of Aberdeen’s key players can yet be secured on a long term contract.
Securing the Welsh international on a new, extended deal would be a good investment due to what he adds to the squad.
If he wasn’t there Hedges would be sorely missed.
Within sensible parameters Aberdeen must move to sign him up for a longer period.
It would give the club, the manager and the player a bit of stability.
There is no doubt Hedges is a strong part of the Aberdeen team as he is in every starting line-up when fit and available.
Hedges and Marley Watkins bring creativity and should also be delivering goals.
I’m sure Aberdeen supporters will be watching the situation with Hedges closely over the next few weeks and until the January transfer window closes.
The hope for Aberdeen fans and the manager will be that Hedges can be convinced to stay at the club for the longer term.
Complete focus from Scotland in Moldova
There can be no loss of focus from Scotland on Friday as they need to finish the job by defeating Moldova to secure a World Cup qualifying play-off spot.
It has been a fabulous effort from manager Steve Clarke and his squad to get to the position where beating the groups minnows secures a play-off in March.
They have beaten main rivals Austria and Israel recently to set up this situation and now just need to get it over the line.
Although it is away from home it is against the minnows of the group so Scotland must go into it full of confidence.
That cannot be arrogance though, because Faroe Islands have proven in this qualifying campaign that even the minnows can play football and can pose problems.
Scotland cannot take anything for granted and must give Modova due respect.
I’m sure manager Clarke will have them in the right frame of mind as he has built a squad that have shown they can deliver results.
It is still possible to qualify in second place even if Scotland don’t win in Moldova but that’s not a situation we want to drop into.
Scotland don’t want to go into the final game of the qualifying campaign against group leaders Denmark on Monday at Hampden needing to get something.
If a play-off spot is secured with a sizeable gap between Scotland and rivals Austria and Israel then it will have been done in style.
Then it can be celebration time at Hampden with the final game of the Group F qualifying campaign against Denmark.