Aberdeen supporters said farewell to long-serving Andy Considine and a disastrous season in a day of mixed emotion.
It was sadness at the exit of club great Considine combined with the relief at seeing the back of a nightmare campaign after a 0-0 draw with St Mirren.
The Red Army will be glad to call time on a season from hell that initially promised so much – and delivered nothing.
Aberdeen have finished a dismal 10th in the Premiership – the club’s lowest league position since 2014.
After that failure, a huge summer rebuild by manager Jim Goodwin is required.
Part of that squad reconstruction is the exit of Considine, 35, after almost two decades in the first team.
Considine departs after talks over a new deal broke down and the club withdrew the offer of a one-year extension.
A guard of honour for Considine
The defender was given the opportunity to say his farewells as he played in the Red of Aberdeen for a final time.
He led the team out as captain and was given a guard of honour and standing ovation.
Despite the emotion of the occasion, Considine delivered a rock-solid performance and was composed throughout at left centre-back.
Considine left with not just with the good wishes of the Red Army – but also a clean sheet.
Shut-outs have been in scarce supply at Aberdeen this season.
More clean-sheets with Considine
The stalemate was only the seventh clean sheet in 47 games this season in all competitions.
Last season, Considine played 44 games and the Reds delivered 20 clean-shut outs.
That is a 45% shut-out rate, which is a huge improvement on this season’s woeful 15% clean sheet return.
Whether the decision to let the Scotland international defender leave Pittodrie is the right call will be seen next season.
— Aberdeen FC (@AberdeenFC) May 15, 2022
Against St Mirren he had 23 passes, with 20 finding a Dons player for an 83% accuracy rating.
Considine pitched in with five clearances, two interceptions and two tackles won.
The main statistic though, is that Aberdeen did not concede a goal.
Exit exactly 18 years after debut
Considine insists he has two or three years left at the top level. He will not be short of offers from clubs in the summer.
His emotional Aberdeen farewell came exactly 18 years to the day since his debut, against Dundee on May 14 2004.
Considine is one of the few players within Pittodrie not culpable for a failed season.
This was his first start since suffering cruciate ligament damage in a Euro tie against Qarabag in August that required surgery.
Having battled through a long rehabilitation in excess of six months, he regained full fitness.
However, the veteran defender had been an unused substitute in the games since his return, bar a late injury-time introduction in the 1-0 loss at Hibs.
Considine brought calmness
It only intensifies the question over whether the defender will be a big miss next season.
Many more players will have called time on their Pittodrie career following this stalemate that summed up a season to forget.
Goodwin’s much-needed summer rebuild must ensure there is no repeat of this dreadful campaign.
Aberdeen created the opening opportunity in the sixth minute when Lewis Ferguson curled a shot from the edge of the box.
Keeper Jak Alnwick, who impressed, dived to tip the effort wide of the far post for a corner.
In the 18th minute, Jonny Hayes burst into the left side of the penalty area, but fired wide.
St Mirren’s Jay Henderson hit a volley from outside the box wide soon after.
Aberdeen threatened again in the 32nd minute when Ferguson fired wide of Alnwick’s far post.
Then Hayes played a short pass inside to Connor Barron who hit a low 22-yard strike on the run. Keeper Alnwick dived low to superbly tip the effort wide.
Aberdeen had a goal disallowed when Ross McCrorie fired beyond Alnwick from 12 yards out.
However, the effort was chalked off by referee Don Robertson who deemed Marley Watkins to have fouled Alnwick in the box in the build up to McCrorie’s strike.
Penalty decision over ruled
Aberdeen were further incensed on the stroke of half time when they were awarded a penalty for hand-ball – only for referee Robertson to overturn his decision.
David Bates met a cross to the back post and his header from close range hit the hand of Scott Tanser.
Robertson awarded a spot-kick.
However, following a discussion with assistant official Sean Carr, the decision was overruled as they adjudged it to have hit Tanser’s head.
It was the wrong call.
The Reds were furious.
Emotional farewell for Considine
In the 47th minute, Considine fired a shot off target. It was to be his last act as an Aberdeen player.
The defender was substituted for Declan Gallagher in the 48th minute.
As he walked off the Pittodrie pitch for the final time as an Aberdeen player, the Red Army sang: ‘He’s one of our own, Andy Considine, he’s one of our own’.
A shot from Vicente Besuijen, after receiving a pass from Ferguson, was blocked in the 58th minute.
In the 61st minute, teenage striker Liam Harvey came on for his Pittodrie debut.
The 17-year-old, who made his Dons debut in Wednesday’s 1-0 loss at St Johnstone, was introduced for Watkins.
In the 65th minute, Besuijen shot wide as the Reds pushed forward looking for an opener.
Teen star Liam Harvey comes close
Lively substitute Harvey met a cross from Matty Kennedy in the 82nd minute, but his close-range header at the back post was saved by keeper Alnwick.
The game fizzled out to call time on a season which never ignited.
Now all focus shifts to the summer rebuild.
The players who are signed in the transfer window must be better than the players who have exited.
If that is the case with Considine, only time will tell.
ABERDEEN (4-2-3-1): Lewis 6; MacKenzie 6, Bates 6, Considine 6 (Gallagher 48), McCrorie 7, Ferguson 6, Barron 6, Hayes 6 (Kennedy 79), Polvara 6 (Ojo 61), Besuijen 6, Watkins 6 (Harvey 61)
Subs: Woods (gk), Montgomery, McLennan, Ruth, Milne.
ST MIRREN (3-5-1-1): Alnwick 6; McCarthy 6, Power 6, Fraser 6, Tanser 6, Henderson 5 (Brophy 51), Erhahon 6, Gogic 6, Tait 5 (Millar 51) Kiltie 6, Greive 6 (Gilmartin 90)
Subs: Lyness (gk), Flynn, Thomson
Referee: Don Robertson 4
Man of the Match: Ross McCrorie (Aberdeen)
Attendance: 14, 906