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Duncan Shearer: December is shaping up to be a pivotal month for Aberdeen

Barry Robson's side must make home advantage count as they bid to move up the Premiership table.

The Aberdeen players were left dejected following their 2-0 defeat by Hibernian. Image: Shutterstock
The Aberdeen players were left dejected following their 2-0 defeat by Hibernian. Image: Shutterstock

Some Aberdeen fans are becoming nervous at their club’s league position but I’d urge them to have a little more patience with the Dons under Barry Robson.

I’m not thrilled at seeing the Dons in 10th place in the Scottish Premiership and I’m sure there’s nobody at Pittodrie who is happy with 13 points from 13 games so far in the league.

But there’s a bigger picture here and what has happened so far this season has been a direct consequence of the success of finishing third and qualifying for Europe in the last campaign.

If you go back to the end of January the Dons had been walloped 6-0 by Hibernian at Easter Road and Jim Goodwin’s tenure was brought to an end.

I doubt there’s a Dons fan out there who dreamed of their side finishing third in the league at that point.

But they did just that due to Barry coming in and getting the best out of the squad.

Europe has tested the Dons

HJK’s Hassane Balde and Aberdeen’s Connor Barron in action in the Europa Conference League in Finland. Image: SNS

That success has brought some much welcomed revenue and the chance to rebuild the squad but it is clear the demands put on the new-look team have been challenging.

Despite all that the Dons have proved themselves to be a formidable outfit when facing a big occasion.

There have been some memorable trips to Sweden, Germany, Greece and Finland and the Dons have competed well, suffering just one defeat in their four away matches in Europe.

But it is clear their European campaign has not only shown just how slim the margins are between victory and defeat, it has also impacted on their league results.

The schedule will have been full-on, seven days a week for the Dons and the challenge has been huge for the club.

Despite that Aberdeen have fought their way to Hampden for the Viaplay Cup final in two weeks’ time.

Barry has been criticised for not rotating his squad more between Europe and domestically.

On Sunday he made eight changes to the team which drew 2-2 with HJK Helsinki for the game at Hibs.

The Dons dominated the game, peppered David Marshall’s goal with efforts galore, hit the woodwork twice and Bojan Miovski saw his penalty saves as Hibs ran out 2-0 winners.

It was a bad day in the office but it happens.

A pivotal month lies ahead for the Dons

Sunday was not the way Barry and his players will have wanted to start December but the Dons have a big chance to get themselves back in contention this month.

Eight of their 13 league matches have been on the road so far. Five of the next six Premiership games are at Pittodrie.

There’s one last European game to come and a cup final to look forward to against Rangers, who have taken one point from a possible six against Aberdeen this season.

I see plenty of reasons for optimism but that does not mean things cannot be better.

Aberdeen fans do not want to be 10 points adrift of third place but there’s a long way to go and a lot of football to be played.

With two home games this week the Dons could find themselves back within touching distance of European football again and I’m sure everyone at Pittodrie is well aware of that.

The chance to take a breather will be in January during the winter break.

For now though, the coaching staff and players at Pittodrie need the fans to stick with them for what is going to be a pivotal month.

Rested County must take advantage

Stuart Kettlewell returns to Dingwall tonight with Motherwell. Image: SNS

Ross County manager Derek Adams will want to use the advantage of a few day’s rest when former Staggies boss Stuart Kettlewell brings Motherwell north tonight.

County’s trip to Livingston was postponed on Saturday due to a frozen pitch at the Tony Macaroni Arena but I doubt Derek was too bothered.

He’ll have been able to have a look at Motherwell in their 3-3 draw with Dundee all while his players were resting up ahead of another vital game tonight.

Having guided the Staggies to a hard-fought 1-0 win over St Mirren a week ago Derek will be looking for his side to build on the three points they gained.

It shows just how competitive the Premiership is this season that a second win in a row tonight will take County to within a point of the top six.

A week ago they were a point off the bottom.

It is going to be nip and tuck in the race for Europe, the top six and relegation this season.

For Ross County, every away game is challenge given the distance they have to cover and picking up points is tough.

By the same token though, teams find it tough visiting Dingwall and winning those home games is what will determine Ross County’s hopes of staying in the Premiership.

All about the reaction at Caley Thistle

Billy Mckay and David Wotherspoon were dejected following Caley Thistle’s 2-1 defeat by Raith Rovers. Image: SNS

It’s finally happened – Caley Thistle have lost a game under Duncan Ferguson.

I was at Caledonian Stadium on Saturday to watch Inverness face Raith Rovers and I have to say how impressed I was by the Kirkcaldy outfit as they ran out 2-1 winners.

They are the best footballing team I’ve seen in the Championship this season and they have some terrific players.

Billy Mckay and David Wotherspoon have formed a very good partnership but Raith, even if they left it late, were worth their win in the Highlands.

Duncan will be disappointed but it’s all about the reaction now and I’m sure he’s as interested to see how a wee dent in the momentum affects his side.

Caley Jags have a tough trip to Queen’s Park on Saturday followed by another midweek road trip to Morton a few days later.

Duncan will be hoping his team can turn some of those draws they’ve been having into wins.

That’s what is required if Inverness are to get back into the promotion play-off mix.