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Duncan Shearer: Desire and determination clear for all to see from Aberdeen’s stellar showing against Rangers

The Dons have had a week to remember as their 3-1 win at Ibrox rounded off a hat-trick of wins for Barry Robson's side.

Jack MacKenzie of Aberdeen scores the Dons' third goal past Rangers goalkeeper Jack Butland. Image: Shutterstock.
Jack MacKenzie of Aberdeen scores the Dons' third goal past Rangers goalkeeper Jack Butland. Image: Shutterstock.

What a difference a week has made for Aberdeen and manager Barry Robson.

The pressure was building following a winless start in the Premiership and the team had been booed off in back-to-back matches following defeats by Hibernian and Hearts.

Fast forward to 5pm on Saturday and the Dons were the pride of the north once more after beating Ross County twice in the league and cup before stunning Rangers on their own turf with a resounding 3-1 win at Ibrox.

As mood-changers go, it has been quite the sequence of results for Aberdeen.

The Ibrox performance was outstanding and I’m not surprised it has resulted in a Rangers manager losing his job.

The biggest compliment I can pay the Dons is they made Michael Beale’s side look ordinary.

When you go to Glasgow you need to defend well, work hard, concentrate and take your chances – Aberdeen ticked every one of those boxes.

Dons players were queueing up to score

Leading the way was Graeme Shinnie, who produced a real captain’s performance. From the first whistle, he was making challenges, interceptions, pushing forward and gesturing to the Dons supporters.

Stefan Gartenmann’s first goal for the club came at the perfect time and it looked as if it was a routine which had been worked on at the training ground.

He did well to break free of his marker – but I could see a few blockers among his team-mates ensuring he had the space to run in at the back post, and he took his chance well to put the Dons ahead.

As soon as the first goal went Aberdeen’s way, you could see Rangers were there for the taking, but it was the second and third goals which pleased me most.

Jamie McGrath and Jack MacKenzie got the all-important goals, but only after one Aberdeen player after another had lined up to try to put the ball in the back of the net.

It spoke volumes about the desire in the Rangers penalty area from the Aberdeen players.

Young Jack needs to work on his goal celebrations, though. I know he does not score often… but the forward roll was hopeless.

Tactics were spot-on from Barry Robson

Dropping Duk and playing one striker was the right way to g,  too.

Fans can look at formations and perceive and approach as a lack of ambition, but that was not the case from Aberdeen at all on Saturday.

It was the same approach which served them so well against Eintracht Frankfurt in their Conference League opener two weeks ago, and it worked a treat in Glasgow.

Big away games like that are about keeping your shape, restricting the space and then committing men forward when the opportunity to strike comes.

Aberdeen manager Barry Robson during Saturday’s 3-1 win at Ibrox.

Aberdeen did it successfully three times.

Bojan Miovski was very unlucky to see his header come back off the post, too. It may look like an easy chance, but I can assure you it wasn’t.

He was coming in at speed at the back post and the slight nudge knocked him off balance, yet he still managed to connect with the ball before colliding with the post himself.

For the Dons, all eyes now turn to Europe again and the visit of HJK Helsinki on Thursday.

I know Barry Robson will be desperate to get a win in Europe and with a big home crowd behind them the stage is set for another Pittodrie thriller.

Frank McDougall was in a class of his own

Frank McDougall in action for Aberdeen  in the 1985 League Cup final against Hibernian. Image: Shutterstock.

I was saddened to hear of the death of former Dons striker Frank McDougall on Sunday.

I only met Frank once – last year at a function in Aberdeen we both attended – and we went for a drink and a chat afterwards in the city.

I knew as a fellow striker we had a lot in common and it was great to sit and chat about the players we had played with and hear his thoughts on the game.

Alex McLeish, a team-mate of ours from different eras, told me I would get on famously with Frank – and he was spot-on.

Frank was due to be inducted into Aberdeen’s Hall of Fame alongside me last year, but missed the ceremony due to his treatment for lung cancer.

It’s a shame to see another legendary Dons player taken too soon, and my thoughts are with his family and friends at this difficult time.

County making progress despite defeats

Ross County’s Kyle Turner (R) and Connor Randall (L) and Hearts’ Lawrence Shankland in action on Saturday. Image: SNS.

It is a measure of the progress Ross County have made this season fans are feeling downbeat following Saturday’s 1-0 defeat by Hearts in Dingwall.

It has been a tough week for the Staggies following defeats to Aberdeen and Hearts.

But County boss Malky Mackay is right to say no-one would have batted an eyelid had Saturday’s game ended in a goalless draw rather than a 1-0 win for the Jambos.

It was not that long ago Hearts walloped County 6-1 at Tynecastle, so it’s clear that gap has narrowed considerably since the last meeting in April.

Saturday’s game boiled down to Hearts taking their chance and County failing to take theirs – and they had two or three decent ones.

Yes it was frustrating for the home support, but they should take solace from the fact their team continue to push strong opponents to the limit.

Even with 10 men, they stayed in the game in their 2-1 Viaplay Cup exit to the Dons last midweek and, on Saturday, they have pushed Hearts all the way, too.

A trip to face a Dundee side who have started well in the Premiership under Tony Docherty is next up for the Staggies and, again, it looks like being a very even encounter.

Big Dunc will be hoping to inject his character into Caley Thistle

Duncan Ferguson celebrates with his arms in the air
Duncan Ferguson savours the 3-2 win at Arbroath with the Inverness fans. Image: SNS.

The Duncan Ferguson era is up and running with a first Championship win of the season for Caley Thistle.

Their 3-2 win at Arbroath on Saturday was just what they needed and I know from speaking to former manager Billy Dodds at the Ross County game on Saturday he expected his old team to pick-up all three points.

Caley Thistle have a decent record at Gayfield, but I was surprised with everything that has happened this season to see them race into a 3-0 lead.

Arbroath hit back with two quick goals and piled on the pressure looking for an equaliser, but Duncan will have been thrilled to see his side stand firm to claim the points.

Moving off the bottom of the league is important psychologically for Caley Jags, and I’m looking forward to Duncan’s home debut against an in-form Partick Thistle on Saturday.

I shared a changing room with him with Scotland once and it was clear from our brief encounter he is an infectious character.

He won’t be fooled into thinking everything is rosy after one game, but if he can get his players to show that same character he has on the pitch, then Inverness should be able to move up the table in the weeks ahead.