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Willie Miller: Aberdeen must finish in the top six to pay back loyal Dons fans for support through tough season

Aberdeen midfielder Lewis Ferguson celebrates after scoring to make it 2-1 against Hibs.
Aberdeen midfielder Lewis Ferguson celebrates after scoring to make it 2-1 against Hibs.

Securing a top-six finish would be payback to Aberdeen supporters for their unwavering support throughout a tough season.

Top-six action after the split would also keep alive the bid for European qualification.

If the Dons were to salvage the season with European qualification,  it could also help manager Jim Goodwin’s bid to secure signing targets in the summer window.

That is why the next two must-win games against Dundee and Ross County are so huge.

The prospect of playing out the season in the bottom six is a depressing one, particularly for the Red Army.

No one wants that. Supporters want to experience big games against Rangers, Celtic and Hearts with the chance of European football still up for grabs.

A top-six finish – and ideally European qualification – would be reward for a fanbase that has been very supportive in recent tough times.

Even when results were poor, the Reds’ supporters continued to turn up in their numbers, both at Pittodrie and on the road.

So far it has been a disappointing season, but it can still finish positively, giving supporters a real boost and ensuring there is momentum going into next season.

Aberdeen’s Lewis Ferguson scores a penalty to make it 1-1 against Hibs at Pittodrie.

Supporters have turned out in numbers at Pittodrie in recent weeks with nearly 19,000 for the Dundee United game and 15,000 for the defeat of Hibs.

The atmosphere at these games was fantastic and the players and supporters will want more of that after the split.

That’s where the top six will come in as Aberdeen would be playing against the best teams in the country.

Anything less than wins against Dundee and Ross County will make it a very difficult end to the season for Aberdeen.

With the budget and squad the Dons have, they should be in the top six.

If they are in the top half of the table at the split Europe will still be within touching distance.

Aberdeen manager Jim Goodwin during the 3-1 Premiership defeat of Hibs at Pittodrie.

There are a glut of teams jostling for top six and Europe, but there is nothing there that should frighten Aberdeen.

Playing in Europe is important for the status of the club.

An added incentive for signing targets, European action would also give the manager something to help persuade current players to stay.

The training facilities are there at Cormack Park, which is a huge boost for attracting new players.

If the Reds can also Europe to that it is certainly more appealing.

Obviously the financial package for any new player is a big part of choosing any club, but Europe would certainly be an added incentive.

Players want to be playing at the top level and European football is certainly a draw.

Getting into Europe gives everyone a lift and gives players something to look forward to.

The club have supported recent Aberdeen managers well in terms of finance, despite very difficult situations such as the coronavirus pandemic.

If manager Goodwin has the right tools with the facilities, the board’s backing financially and European football, then then it is a very good story to tell signing targets.

Aberdeen produced a good performance against Hibs and if they can continue that level top six is there to be taken.

It must be more of the same against Dundee at Dens Park on Saturday.

Dundee are fighting for their survival at the foot of the table so it won’t be easy.

Aberdeen winger Vicente Besuijen celebrates netting a superb goal against Hibs.

There is no room for error now. Aberdeen must win these remaining two games to salvage the season.

If they do, a disappointing campaign can yet end on a positive note.

If they don’t take six points from six before the split, it will be a miserable end to the season for the Dons and the supporters.

Tierney is the perfect all-round player

There is no surprise Scotland and Arsenal defender Kieran Tierney is being linked with a £50m summer bid by Real Madrid.

Tierney is almost the perfect all round player as he can play centre-back, wing-back and full-back.

The former Celtic defender is superb, both defensively and offensively.

Tierney also possesses strength of character and physical strength.

The defender handles himself tremendously well.

Kieran Tierney celebrates netting against Poland.

He deserves the attention of top clubs as Tierney is a star performer.

Tierney netted his first goal for Scotland in the 1-1 friendly draw with Poland at Hampden on Thursday.

The strength of the starting XI against Poland underlined national manager Steve Clarke’s desire to keep recent momentum going.

Scotland produced another strong performance and were only denied a seventh straight win by an injury-time penalty.

Momentum is important with the postponed World Cup play-off semi-final with Ukraine still to be played.

However, Clarke also has to balance the desire to maintain momentum with the need to give young players an opportunity.

After a frustrating spell at club level following his January move to Everton, full-back Nathan Patterson was given a start against Poland.

Patterson performed extremely well.

The main priority for Clarke will be a continuity of performance at a high level, which has been brilliant in the last seven games.

You need that continuity to make other nations sit up and think Scotland have something going here.

Nathan Patterson in action against Poland
Nathan Patterson in action against Poland.

That would ensure nations give Scotland real respect when facing them.

What Clarke and Scotland have delivered is tremendously encouraging.

However, you also need new blood and to repay loyalty to players who have been in the squad but not had starts. Young players have to be given more caps to add to their confidence.

Ideally that will come against Austria in the friendly in Vienna tonight.

Cove Rangers closing in on title

Cove Rangers yet again underlined their League One title credentials in drawing 1-1 away at rivals Airdrie.

Never-say-die Cove secured a point with a superb leveller from Fraser Fyvie deep into injury time.

It was a hugely important goal as the draw keeps them five points ahead of their nearest rivals.

Cove Rangers' Fraser Fyvie, Paul Hartley and Mitch Megginson
Cove Rangers’ Fraser Fyvie, Paul Hartley and Mitch Megginson.

That advantage would have been slashed to two points had Fyvie not netted that late goal.

Former Aberdeen midfielder Fyvie has now scored 11 goals this season.

That is a great return.

That superb late volley against Airdrie was the third successive game he has netted in.

Cove Rangers continue to show they are a club run at a high level.

They have a successful manager in Paul Hartley and are looking to improve all the time.

They have been superb since moving up from the Highland League.

Drawing at Airdrie keeps Cove on course to claim the League One title and promotion to the Championship.

That would be another major step in their building programme.

It would take Cove closer to where they want to be.

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