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ANALYSIS: Still ‘in a hole’ six months on – Aberdeen in danger of a dire season descending into disaster

Jason Holt scores to make it 2-0 Livingston against Aberdeen.
Jason Holt scores to make it 2-0 Livingston against Aberdeen.

Six months ago struggling Aberdeen fell into ‘a hole’ when losing to Dundee  and have yet to climb out.

Now the Dons are in danger of a dire season descending into a disaster.

The warning signs that the Reds faced a troubled campaign were there last October when losing 2-1 to bottom side Dundee at Dens Park.

Following that chastening loss, then manager Stephen Glass admitted  ‘Aberdeen are in a hole’.

More than two months before the January transfer window alarm bells were ringing.

Another uninspiring transfer window did little to deliver a helpful ladder to assist a climb back up the table.

Aberdeen boss Jim Goodwin during the 2-1 loss to Livingston.

Aberdeen were ninth when they suffered that loss to Dundee.

As they ready to face Dundee again, this time at Pittodrie, 207 days later they are still in ninth position.

Now the Dons must face up to the brutal truth that they are still in a hole.

Whether that hole becomes a grave to their Premiership status remains a possibility.

The concern is that the Reds could yet crash into the relegation play-off zone unless they start winning games.

Referee Grant Irvine and Declan Gallagher of Aberdeen in the game against Livingston.

Aberdeen seem incapable of registering a clean sheet and effectively have to score at least twice to have any chance of three points.

The Reds’ porous rearguard has not registered a Premiership shut-out since December 11 last year.

Of the 158 teams spread across the 10 national divisions in Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland the Dons are the only club without a league shut-out this year.

That would be a major concern at any time.

It becomes a cause for Aberdeen fans suffering sleepless nights when combined with a lack of cutting edge and confidence in attack.

That is an unwanted and damaging perfect storm and why Aberdeen have won just once in 14 games.

And why the relegation play-off danger, although still slim, cannot be discounted.

If Aberdeen players believe they are too good to be dragged into the play-offs, they have yet to prove it.

Nicky Devlin scores to make it 1-0 Livingston against Aberdeen.

Thankfully new manager Jim Goodwin is alert to the danger and recently said: “I wouldn’t dare be so arrogant as to think we are too big a club to get dragged into that kind of thing.

Being alert to the danger is key. It means you can fight it.

It is being blind to the threat, thinking you are too good to be in a relegation dog-fight, that is the danger.

That cannot be allowed to seep through Pittodrie because form suggests they aren’t.

With four games remaining Aberdeen are five points ahead of St Johnstone, who occupy the relegation play-off spot.

Sleepless nights? Aberdeen Fans during the 2-1 loss to Livingston at Pittodrie.

The Reds also boast a superior goal difference of 18 which is effectively another point.

The longer Aberdeen go without a league win, the more nervous the finale to the season becomes.

One win, against Dundee, should be enough to kill off that play-off threat.

However with just a solitary victory from the last 14 games and back to back defeats at Pittodrie securing that win is looking far from a formality.

What is clear is Aberdeen cannot afford to be in a position where St Johnstone can potentially leapfrog them when the clubs clash at McDiarmid Park.

Aberdeen must ensure that clash in Perth on Wednesday May 11 in the penultimate game of the season is a meaningless contest.

Aberdeen’s Lewis Ferguson during the 2-1 loss to Livingston.

They must eradicate the spectre of the play-offs before the trip to Perth.

McDiarmid Park cannot become the scene for a battle for survival.

It must not become the biggest game of the season and potentially era-defining for the club.

Instead that match will hopefully be an end of season clash with nothing riding on it but three points in the bid to finish with some positivity.

Stryjek ban another blow to Dons

Has there been a more obvious red card and penalty this season than Max Stryjek’s foul on Vicente Besuijen?

I doubt it. Livingston keeper Stryjek clearly poleaxed the Dons’ winger with his right hand in the 2-1 loss at Pittodrie.

Yet somehow referee Grant Irvine, who had a clear view of the incident, decided not to award a spot kick and only booked the keeper.

More bizarrely Besuijen was also booked.

Max Stryjek (32) of Livingston clashes with Aberdeen’s Vincente Besuijen during the 2-1 loss at Pittodrie.

The foul came late in the first half with the teams tied 0-0.

Aberdeen could have been a goal and a man up had Irvine got the decision right.

Yet within a minute the Dons were behind as Livi netted the opener.

Now further salt has been rubbed into the wounds for Aberdeen with Stryjek banned for two matches for that foul.

Livingston confirmed Stryjek has been served with a notice of complaint from the SFA for the incident.

Aberdeen’s Vincente Besuijen (10) lies injured after the incident with Livingston keeper Max Stryjek.

The club accepted the offer of a two-match ban which Stryjek will serve with immediate effect.

That means Livingston will now be without their first choice keeper for games against Hibs and St Johnstone.

Two teams Aberdeen are against in the bottom six have now been handed an advantage.

Calvin Ramsay a worthy winner

There is no surprise Aberdeen teenager Calvin Ramsay has won the SFWA’s DoubleTree by Hilton Scottish SPFL Young Player of the Year.

The 18-year-old has been a revelation in his breakthrough season, particularly going forward from the right-back role.

Teenage right-back Calvin Ramsay celebrates after scoring to make it 1-0 against Dundee at Dens Park.

Ramsay has also broken into the Scotland U21 international squad this season.

It is no surprise Liverpool and Leeds United are understood to be lining up a big money summer swoop for the teen.

Which makes it all the more baffling that he has been on the bench in the last two games with Funso-King Ojo operating at right-back instead.

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