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Joe Harper: Players to blame for Aberdeen’s troubles and must fix it now

Heart's Craig Gordon saves a penalty from Aberdeen's Lewis Ferguson.
Heart's Craig Gordon saves a penalty from Aberdeen's Lewis Ferguson.

Aberdeen’s players must wake up and realise the club is in trouble and they have to fix it.

Although the Dons are nine points ahead of second bottom St Johnstone, that could easily be blown away in the next few games.

Some people will think Aberdeen are too good to get dragged into a relegation scrap.

Failing to win a Premiership game in 2022, in nine attempts, suggests otherwise.

Aberdeen have slumped to 10th spot in the Premiership after the disappointing 2-0 loss away at Hearts.

Aberdeen manager Jim Goodwin looks dejected at full time of the 2-0 loss at Hearts.

The only way the Reds are going to get out of this hole is by sticking together and fighting to get back up the table.

That means scrapping for points for every second of every game.

Aberdeen’s confidence is down and somehow new manager Jim Goodwin must get them believing in themselves again.

That has to come now because there are only four games left before the Premiership split.

If Aberdeen get into the top six they can then regroup and focus on a potential push for a European spot.

Hearts’ Stephen Kingsley scores to make it 2-0 against Aberdeen.

If they fail to get into the top sixm then the season will end with battles against teams fighting for their lives against the drop.

I know the Dons are only five points off fourth spot, but there is little in recent form to indicate they will move up the table.

It shocking and concerning that Aberdeen have failed to win in the league this year.

We are now into March.

The clock is ticking down to the split and the Reds must show an immediate improvement at defending champions Rangers on Saturday.

The Dons were second best in every department against third-placed Hearts at Tynecastle.

Poor from the opening minute, the Reds failed to get going and never really tested keeper Craig Gordon, other than from the penalty he saved.

The brutal reality is the football the Dons are playing is not good enough.

That has nothing to do with Goodwin, because it has been the case for a few years now.

New manager Goodwin must be scratching his head thinking he is seeing good players, but they are not playing well.

Hearts’ John Souttar scores to make it 1-0 against Aberdeen at Tynecastle.

Somehow the manager has to get the best out of them between now and the end of the season.

However, the players themselves also have to take on the responsibility to get Aberdeen out of the situation they are culpable for.

Ultimately, it is the players’ fault the Dons are in the bottom six.

It is incumbent upon them to haul the club back up the table.

In the summer transfer window, manager Goodwin will have a big job on his hands to rebuild the squad.

Hearts’ John Souttar celebrates with teammates after making it 1-0 against Aberdeen at Tynecastle.

I’m sure he will have people looking at players for the summer already.

For now, though, it is all about grinding out wins and to do that Goodwin has to put someone up top with striker Christian Ramirez.

The United States international was completely isolated and denied of any service in the loss at Hearts.

Neilson wrong with ‘dive’ comment

I cannot understand Hearts’ manager Robbie Neilson’s indignation about Aberdeen’s penalty at Tynecastle.

It was a penalty and referee Steven McLean got that call right.

After Hearts’ 2-0 win, Neilson accused Lewis Ferguson of diving to win the spot-kick.

Neilson even said he hoped the compliance officer would become involved in the Ferguson spot-kick incident.

It wasn’t a dive. There was a connection from Nathanial Atkinson on Ferguson.

It was a penalty.

Aberdeen’s Lewis Ferguson goes down inside the box and wins a penalty.

Why did Neilson came out and make such a big fuss about that incident when his team had won the match, especially when Hearts keeper Craig Gordon pulled off a great save to deny Ferguson from the spot?

It was a decent strike by the midfielder, but Gordon guessed the right way and got down low to make the block.

Ferguson has been so lethal from the penalty spot for Aberdeen, but Gordon showed why he is Scotland’s number one.

Neilson also failed to mention Aberdeen had a perfectly good goal disallowed in the first half when it was 0-0.

Centre-back Declan Gallagher had the ball in the back of the net when heading in.

Yet referee McLean chalked it off for a phantom foul on Ellis Simms.

There was no foul and that goal should have stood.

Aberdeen’s Declan Gallagher has a goal disallowed for a foul on Hearts’ Ellis Simms.

All focus on title charge for Cove

Unfortunately Cove Rangers’ dream of lifting the Scottish Challenge Cup is over for this season.

They narrowly lost the semi-final 1-0 to Queen of the South.

Cove Rangers conceded a goal very early in the match and had so many chances to score themselves, but couldn’t make the breakthrough.

Cove Rangers’ Mark Reynolds heading the ball clear from Rubeb Soarers Junior of Queen of the South.

The Cove players will be hurting, because they have lost out on the chance of a final.

That is tough to take. However, they can now focus on the League One title push.

Paul Hartley’s side are five points clear at the top of the table.

If they can go on to win the League One title, it would be a magnificent season.


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