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Paul Third: All eyes on Aberdeen players to rally – with Stephen Glass no longer there to protect them

Fans will be looking to the players to respond following their manager's dismissal
Fans will be looking to the players to respond following their manager's dismissal

Could I have done more? It is a question which every Aberdeen player will be mulling over following manager Stephen Glass’ dismissal yesterday.

Glass had to go. It is an inescapable truth. The team has been eliminated early from both cup competitions and is languishing in ninth place in the Scottish Premiership.

There was precious little in the way of evidence to suggest there was cause for optimism some remarkable reversal in fortune was forthcoming.

Fans’ patience snapped following cup exit

The patience of the supporters finally snapped at Fir Park on Saturday following the club’s 2-1 loss to Motherwell in the Scottish Cup, and it was the manager and players who bore the brunt of the anger as they made their way back to the dressing room.

Glass, as has been the case all season, has been the players’ shield in all of this. He is the one who has faced questions about the results, performances and his future all season.

That buffer around the Pittodrie dressing room has now been removed. There is no under pressure manager anymore to take the flak.

Aberdeen manager Stephen Glass during the Scottish Cup loss to Motherwell.

To the bitter end, Glass was defiant, insisting he would not quit. It was a brave and commendable stance, but ultimately all it did was force his chairman’s hand.

Dave Cormack will have taken no pleasure on delivering the news following the Fir Park loss – but if there is one crumb of comfort for the chairman following his return to Scotland, it is that he has made the right decision.

Now the deed has been done all eyes in the Pittodrie boardroom will be on stepping up the search for a replacement.

In the meantime, the spotlight on events on the pitch now shines firmly on the players.

How will players react to manager’s sacking?

Forget Neil Simpson and Barry Robson’s coaching credentials for a second. The interim managers are basically holding the fort with somebody else’s team.

All they can do is try to put out the best team they think they can pick, starting with tomorrow’s visit of St Johnstone.

Aberdeen fans will be looking to captain Scott Brown to lead the team’s recovery

But, once the whistle is blown at 7.45pm, the fans will be watching their team and they will be looking for something to convince them this side can still rally.

Rightly or wrongly the proverbial slate has been wiped clean. Tomorrow night represents a fresh start for all and sundry.

The fans need their players to show they can grasp that second chance. If not for themselves, then for those who have followed home and away all season and more often than not been left disappointed.

No knights in shining armour riding to Aberdeen’s rescue

Glass has gone, but the problems facing the Dons still remain. There is no transfer window to bail them out or a long list of free agents lining up to save the day.

The club’s hopes of stopping a dismal season from becoming a fight for survival hinge on those same players finding a sense of purpose and form which has only been present fleetingly.

The lack of consistency is why Aberdeen are closer to the bottom of the table than they are to Hearts, who are in third.

That same lack of consistency is why fans fear a worrying campaign will reach a new alarming level if the Dons lose to relegation-threatened St Johnstone tomorrow.

Perhaps the players should be asking themselves a different question, namely: ‘What can I do to help?’

That question is about to be answered in the weeks ahead.

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