Aberdeen look a team in need of a drastic change in mentality following Sunday’s chastening 6-0 defeat by Celtic.
There’s no way of sugar coating what unfolded: Aberdeen were battered in injury-time.
Given the poor performance, I’m sure Barry would have happily accepted the 3-0 loss and looked to move on. But what unfolded in the 10 additional minutes was a total collapse.
It’s one he rightly called unacceptable.
And I was relieved he didn’t use the trip to PAOK on Thursday in the Europa Conference League as an excuse.
The display and the result against Celtic were unacceptable – no matter the circumstances – and the only way defeats like Sunday are going to be eradicated is by a stronger mindset at the club.
Dons showed Celtic too much respect
Willie Miller told me when I signed for the Dons in 1992 how determined he was to restore that feeling of the players having no fear when we went to Glasgow.
Rangers and Celtic saw facing Aberdeen as a daunting experience in the 1980s during Sir Alex Ferguson’s tenure.
They were games where they had to tread carefully whenever the Dons came to Ibrox or Parkhead.
David Murray’s arrival at Rangers ensured the pendulum had shifted in their favour by the time Willie was appointed.
Willie believed the mindset from his players had to be that going to Glasgow was occasions to be savoured, opportunities to win big games and really make your mark.
I respected the players I faced before and after the game. But during the game? No chance.
I didn’t see any of that from Barry’s team on Sunday and it’s hard to shake the feeling the team were daunted by the challenge.
The acceptance of what was unfolding made for grim viewing.
Too many players stood off their opponents and let them play their way through them – and that’s why the Dons fans have been up in arms about what they watched.
Jekyll and Hyde Aberdeen could have suffered more – and Rubezic was lucky, too
There have been some real Jekyll and Hyde performances – especially away from home.
The Dons have gone to Ibrox and won impressively and battered Motherwell at Fir Park.
But they’ve also been poor at St Mirren and turned over easily by Kilmarnock.
Sunday’s display was arguably the worst yet. The scoreline certainly reflects that.
The final score could have been even worse, too, had Willie Collum opted to show Slobodan Rubezic a red card instead of a yellow following his challenge on Kyogo Furuhashi of Celtic.
Rubezic was fully committed when he went for the header and – even though he got to the ball first – the force of the challenge and the angle meant the Hoops striker had little chance to protect himself.
I don’t think it was malicious, but the defender’s eagerness to get to the ball could have caused some serious damage.
I like the bravery of the big man. But he has had a few clumsy rash moments since arriving at the club.
He needs to check his over-enthusiasm before he earns himself a reputation in the game.
Gulf is widening at the top of the game
I appreciate there is a huge gulf between the big two in Scottish football and the rest. It’s why they win the league every season.
Results like Sunday show if anything the gap is only getting wider.
The league table does not lie and with the gap between first and third at 16 points already, we’re looking at the final margin being three times that come May.
No panic at Ross County despite weekend setback
Ross County had a bad day at the office on Saturday after slipping to a 1-0 defeat by St Johnstone.
The win for Craig Levein’s side means the Staggies have dropped to 11th in the Premiership, with Livingston now occupying the bottom spot on goal difference.
It is a measure of how competitive the division is outwith the top two that back-to-back wins can propel you from the bottom half of the table to the top half with the minimum of fuss.
It was only six weeks ago Stuart Kettlewell and Motherwell were receiving plaudits galore following their fine start to the season.
But a quick look at the league table shows Well are dropping like a stone down the division.
As ever, a pat in the back is always six inches away from a boot up the backside.
That’s why home games are going to be so important for Malky Mackay and his players.
Malky and his players were also praised following a decent start in August and September, but nobody at County have been getting carried away.
I don’t expect any panic buttons being pressed at County either.
A home game against Kilmarnock is next up for the Staggies after the international break, and if County can pick up three points in that one, then they could go from 11th to eighth.
There’s a long way to go and a lot of games to be played before we can really determine which teams will be fighting it out for the top six and Europe, or which clubs are in a relegation dogfight.
Wotherspoon has helped galvanise Caley Thistle
David Wotherspoon may turn out to be the signing of the season in the Championship.
The former St Johnstone midfielder has been revelation since moving to Caley Thistle on a short-term deal with his double in Saturday’s 3-1 win against Ayr United making it three goals in three games.
His deal is up on January, but from what we’ve seen so far I’d be amazed if Inverness were not moving heaven and earth to tie him down on a longer deal.
It is clear Caley Thistle are on the march under new manager Duncan Ferguson.
From being rock bottom when he arrived, they are now out of the bottom two and have two games in hand on fourth-placed Airdrie.
One of those games will be Saturday’s trip to East End Park to face Dunfermline.
If Caley Jags can pick-up another three points, they will move above the Pars into fifth place.
Considering where they were, it would be an incredible turnaround.
Momentum is everything in football and there is little doubt Inverness have it in abundance right now.
There will be setbacks along the way, but it looks as if Caley Thistle have got their season up and running at last – and, for that, big Dunc deserves huge credit.
I hear the training sessions and intense, but the players are clearly responding to his methods.
Given the manager has been able to focus on getting Cillian Sheridan up to speed in terms of his fitness, without having to throw him in at the deep end, augurs well, too.