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Duncan Shearer: Time for Barry Robson to focus on the positives – not fixture schedule – for Aberdeen

Dons boss needs to focus on the good news rather than dwelling on their busy calendar.

Aberdeen manager Barry Robson. Image: SNS.
Aberdeen manager Barry Robson. Image: SNS.

Their form remains patchy but the Dons are Hampden-bound once more after digging deep to beat Hibernian in the Viaplay Cup semi-final on Saturday.

It was far from a classic, but that will matter little to manager Barry Robson, his players or the Aberdeen support following the 1-0 win over Hibs in their semi at the National Stadium.

Bojan Miovski, quite rightly, took the plaudits for a terrific finish to book his place in the final.

I’ve been impressed with what I’ve seen from the North Macedonian international since he arrived at the club last season, and his goal oozed class. His first touch to take Dante Polvara’s pass in front of him, the pace to get away from a flat-footed Hibs backline and, of course, his terrific finish low past David Marshall’s feet.

It really was a top-drawer strike and one any forward would be pleased about.

MacKenzie will learn from his dismissal

Aberdeen’s Jack McKenzie complains to the fourth official after being sent off at Hampden. Image: SNS.

The timing of it was crucial, too, as it came just minutes after Jack MacKenzie’s moment of madness led to him being sent off.

His off the ball push on Lewis Miller of Hibs was daft – plain and simple. It was a red mist moment, which we’ve all seen so many times.

I don’t know if he momentarily forgot he had already been booked, but he lost his cool for a few seconds, which, unfortunately for him, was all it took to earn himself a second caution.

I’ve no doubt the added punishment of sitting watching the final from the stand will be enough of a lesson for the left-back to ensure there is no repeat.

Dons boss needs to embrace the hectic fixture list

Aberdeen manager Barry Robson celebrates with Graeme Shinnie at full-time at Hampden. Image: SNS.

I was intrigued by Barry’s post-match comments about the timing of the final on December 17 and his side having to face Eintracht Frankfurt in the Conference League three days before the Hampden showpiece against Rangers.

I’m of the belief clubs should have a free week to prepare for a cup final.

But in a congested fixture list, it’s very difficult to do that these days.

I have a degree of sympathy for the Dons boss, but given Rangers will also be in European action on December 14 at Real Betis in the Europa League, I don’t see one team having an advantage over the other.

Had it been Hearts instead of Rangers facing the Dons in the final then there would have been a bigger cause for complaint.

What I do expect is two weary sides at Hampden, though.

They won’t have a lot of time to prepare and I’m sure both sets of players will be hoping they can find a winner in 90 minutes given their schedules.

I hope Barry reins in his comments about the fixture schedule in the weeks ahead though.

If your manager is constantly talking about the number of games you are playing it can quickly become a negative if you are not getting results.

All these games are the price of success and competing on all fronts. Relish it, enjoy it and give it all you’ve got.

After all, you would rather be playing all these matches… instead of sitting at home watching other teams in your place.

Ross County need to stop the new manager bounce at St Johnstone

St Johnstone unveiled Craig Levein as their new manager yesterday. Image: SNS.

Ross County boss Malky Mackay will be hoping his side can avoid handing St Johnstone a new manager bounce when they travel to McDiarmid Park on Saturday.

The Craig Levein era gets under way tonight when Motherwell make the trip to Perth.

And with two home games to start, the new Saints boss will be looking to make an instant impression this week.

The Staggies are only three points ahead of the Premiership’s bottom club and it feels as if this is a big week for clubs at the bottom of the table.

County should be heading to Perth with confidence, however, following their display against Celtic on Saturday.

James Brown’s early dismissal left the Staggies with a mountain to climb, but they competed well for 70 minutes against the champions before eventually running out of steam.

The Hoops are a formidable outfit at the best of times, but to County’s credit, they did not capitulate.

I don’t think the outcome was in doubt. Two of Celtic’s three goals were terrific.

However, Malky can take comfort from how hard his side made Brendan Rodgers’ team work for their win.

Caley Thistle getting back into the groove in the Championship

Duncan Ferguson shows his delight after Nathan Shaw put Caley Thistle 1-0 ahead at Dundee United. Image: SNS

The Duncan Ferguson era is firmly under way at Caley Thistle after an excellent goal and point at Championship leaders Dundee United on Saturday.

Nathan Shaw has always had the ability, but he needs to add more goals to his game.

He has the attributes to beat a man and a powerful shot, so I’m sure the Caley Jags manager will be looking for more of the finishing standard he showed at Tannadice.

Inverness have become a tough nut to crack again, and with eight points from a possible 12, the new manager must be pleased with what his players have given him so far.

His players are responding to him and they are slowly moving back into the mix in the Championship.

United are out in front and the gap is one it is hard to see Inverness closing, but they are five points off the play-offs now and are certainly moving in the right direction again.

The immediate aim is to move up the table, though, and I’m sure the new boss will be looking for another victory in Saturday’s home game against Ayr United to help with that aim.