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Duncan Shearer: Barry Robson will surely at least be interviewed for permanent Aberdeen manager’s role after engineering turnaround

Barry Robson deserves to be a contender for the Aberdeen job. Image: Shutterstock
Barry Robson deserves to be a contender for the Aberdeen job. Image: Shutterstock

Barry Robson has earned the right to be in the mix for the manager’s job at Aberdeen.

The old saying “if it’s not broken then don’t fix it” comes to mind when I think of Barry and the Dons right now.

Saturday’s game against Hearts was the acid test of the work Barry, Steve Agnew and Scott Anderson have done in the two months they have been in charge of first team affairs.

They passed it with flying colours.

I’m not privy to the discussions between chairman Dave Cormack and new chief executive Alan Burrows, but the silence about a new manager is deafening at Pittodrie.

That tells me the board have been happy to keep things ticking over.

With four wins out of his last five games for Barry, it is not hard to see why.

Things can change quickly of course and I have no doubt the club has a shortlist of candidates they are working through, but I’d be astonished if Barry’s name is not on that list by this point.

On the basis of the turnaround he has engineered, he certainly deserves to be interviewed.

Players and fans are rallying behind the interim boss

I know he is well thought of at Pittodrie.

Derek McInnes thought highly enough of Barry to offer him a coaching position after he hung up his boots and he has been entrusted with the under-18 side throughout his coaching career at the club.

The players are clearly responding to the interim coaching team, while the fans have chanted his name loudly in the last two matches after watching him lead the team to important victories.

The Aberdeen players celebrate. Image: Shutterstock

It would be a risk on the board’s part not to seriously consider leaving him in charge given how well things have gone.

After all, Barry achieved something Jim Goodwin couldn’t do in guiding the team to three league wins in a row – you have to go back to December 2021 for the last time that happened.

It is not just that the team is winning matches either. It’s the manner in which they are racking up those victories which is impressive.

They had to grind out a win against Livingston. They then faced their former manager in his first game in charge at Dundee United, a team who put four past them when they last visited Tannadice.

Now, they have beaten their biggest rivals in the race for third sport to close the gap to four points.

Change of approach has paid off for the Dons

This is all happening during a period when the approach of the team is being tweaked so that they are more aggressive, the tempo is higher and the number of chances being created is increasing.

The Dons had 22 attempts at goal on Saturday and it yielded three goals. Their opponents managed eight and not one of them was on target.

Forget possession, that statistic alone tells you Aberdeen swarmed all over the Jambos at Pittodrie.

The team looks settled in their 3-5-2 formation and the system and approach is paying dividends.

It’s going to be a bold move by the chairman and his directors to ignore the man behind it.

Worrying times for Highland duo

Aberdeen are moving up the table, but these are worrying times as far as the two Highland clubs in the top two divisions are concerned.

Ross County have slipped back into the bottom two in the Premiership following their 2-1 loss at Livingston.

With Dundee United and Kilmarnock both picking up a point from their respective matches, it was tough weekend for Malky Mackay and his players and it’s only going to get tougher.

It’s all to play for at the bottom of the table with the bottom three separated by two points.

The Staggies’ run-in before the split is going to be a challenging one. They have home games against Celtic ad Aberdeen, while their two away games are at St Johnstone and Hearts.

Victor Loturi in action against Livingston. Image: SNS

It is clear County need an upturn in form rapidly or else they are facing the worrying prospect of dropping down to the Championship again next season.

Barring a remarkable reversal in their fortunes, the Championship is where I expect Caley Thistle to be playing their football next season, too.

Caley Jags boss Billy Dodds highlighted his side’s trip to Queen’s Park on Saturday as a vital game, but it was the home side who ran out 2-1 winners.

Defeat leaves Inverness nine points off the play-offs with eight games remaining.

That’s an awfully big gap to close with the games running out, and in such a hotly-contested division there are a lot of teams ahead of Inverness in the play-off race at this point – and they can’t all drop points every week.

Realistically, and even then it might not be enough, I’d suggest Caley Thistle must win at least six of their remaining eight games to have any chance of making the play-offs.

Who will get the nod in goal for Scotland?

Angus Gunn in the Scotland squad. Image: Shutterstock

It feels like a long time since we last watched the Scottish national team in action, but I’m excited to see how they get on in their opening European Championship qualifier against Cyprus on Saturday.

It is no surprise to see Steve Clarke stay loyal to the guys who have served him so well in recent years, and the biggest decision he faces is which goalkeeper to select.

There’s a new face in there in Angus Gunn of Norwich City. His dad Bryan is a good friend and I’m pleased to see Angus commit to Scotland after representing England at youth level.

If he is given the nod to replace the injured Craig Gordon this weekend, then I know his father will be beaming with pride.