Without wishing to be unkind, Jack MacKenzie’s celebratory forward roll was much like his Aberdeen career to date. Halting, not fully convincing, but just about getting the job done.
Into his 24th year, MacKenzie is already past the normal point of reckoning for promising youngsters’ chances of making it at first-team level.
Twenty before he made his SPFL debut and an irregular visitor to the Dons‘ first XI – he is yet to feature in it more than five times in a row – MacKenzie is a late starter by modern standards and arguably needed something to make his mark. This’ll do.
MacKenzie had history to redress with the away end net at Ibrox, having inadvertently and demoralisingly deflected two balls into it on just his fifth Aberdeen start, and this was definitively third time lucky.
Persistence has been a virtue for MacKenzie in what could have been a frustrating couple of years, and it certainly was on Saturday for both he and many of his teammates.
— Aberdeen FC (@AberdeenFC) September 30, 2023
In their concerted efforts to force the ball over the line for both their second and third goals, Aberdeen registered an aggregate of eight shots on target in the space of 12 seconds: more than they had mustered across the entirety of their first four league games.
It doesn’t say much for the defending which allowed them to rain in, but plenty about the cold refusal of Aberdeen to be denied.
That MacKenzie was even near the opposition box whilst defending such a late lead told of a bravery and belief which could easily have dissolved after their own line was breached, as did, even later, Nicky Devlin storming up the line into the Red Army’s raucous corner.
For all those in it, those barrages of shootie-in will stand among the moments of the season.