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Willie Miller: Neil Warnock appointment doesn’t shake uncertainty about Aberdeen’s future direction

The Dons have brought the experienced Englishman in as manager for the remainder of the season.

Aberdeen's interim manager Neil Warnock holding up an Aberdeen FC scarf
Aberdeen's interim manager Neil Warnock. Image: Newsline.

The appointment of Neil Warnock as interim Aberdeen manager may lead to an upturn in fortunes this season – but there is uncertainty about the club’s long-term direction.

Warnock, 75, will take charge of the Dons for the remainder of the campaign following Barry Robson’s sacking last week.

He is the fourth manager the Reds have dismissed since March 2021.

The Pittodrie board have delayed appointing a permanent successor to Robson while an external party carries out a review of the football operation.

Willie Miller: Uncertainty remains despite Warnock’s appointment

Warnock’s appointment on a short-term basis and this review shows there is uncertainty at Aberdeen.

The Dons are searching for answers and they’re looking to an external organisation to provide some.

This is the fourth year in a row the Reds have changed manager in January, February or March and it’s concerning.

The judgement when appointing managers has been suspect and even the temporary appointment of Warnock doesn’t lift the uncertainty.

Hopefully Aberdeen can make use of the time they now have to ensure that this time next year they haven’t sacked another manager.

What’s happened in recent years won’t help the Dons in their search for a new boss. Prospective candidates will be looking and wondering what the issue is at the club with managers being changed so regularly in recent times.

With the time granted to the board by the temporary appointment of Warnock, it’s important they appoint the right person who can provide stability and success long term.

Euro spots and cup are targets for interim gaffer

Warnock will be in charge tonight when the Dons face Rangers at Ibrox and has got vast experience in English football.

This sort of role for two or three months seems to be what he likes doing.

It suits him and it suits Aberdeen at this moment in time – but the appointment doesn’t particularly excite me.

When it comes to the rest of the season, if Warnock can get the Dons to replicate the second half against Celtic on Saturday there is hope for the remainder of the campaign.

If the Reds find some consistency, then the league position will improve.

As a minimum Aberdeen need to be in the top six and any manager knows that. To be sitting eighth in the table is ultimately why Robson lost his job.

Third place is gone with Hearts 20 points ahead, but fourth or fifth and getting into Europe again has to be the target.

There is still the Scottish Cup to play for as well, with Bonnyrigg Rose visiting Pittodrie in round five this weekend.

It’s such an important competition which the Red Army are desperate to win.

Warnock will be targeting being at Hampden in May for the Scottish Cup final and reaching the European spots in the league.

If he can do that, it will be a job well done, and it’s certainly achievable if he can find some consistency from this team.

There have been some good displays this season, but too often in the league it’s been disappointing.

Warnock will need all his experience to try to get some consistency from an underperforming side.

Robson dismissal wasn’t a shock

There was an air of inevitability about Barry Robson’s sacking as Aberdeen manager.

Last week’s 1-1 draw with Dundee at Pittodrie was the final straw for the Dons.

During his year at the helm, Robson secured European group stage football for the Reds and guided them to the League Cup final.

However, Aberdeen’s form in the Premiership this season cost him.

Any Dons boss who has the club in the bottom six at this stage of the season is going to be fortunate not to lose their job.

In recent years the board have shown they are prepared to make a change and when it happened it wasn’t particularly surprising.

Barry Robson was sacked as Aberdeen manager.
Barry Robson was sacked as Aberdeen manager last week. Image: Shutterstock.

What also seemed to be an issue for Robson was an inability to properly address poor performances publicly.

It struck a nerve with the supporters who were watching poor performances that Robson’s interviews didn’t seem to fully address some of these displays.

Watching some games, what I was seeing and what Robson was seeing seemed to be different.

The things that were giving him confidence there would be an improvement – I wasn’t seeing them.

The supporters needed more information on how things would improve and they didn’t get it.

In recent weeks, the fans had turned and banners had started appearing at Pittodrie, which meant it wasn’t surprising Aberdeen opted to make a change.