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Duncan Shearer: Aberdeen giving new boss Jimmy Thelin cause for optimism

The incoming Dons manager will be thrilled to see his new club ending the season in style.

Bojan Miovski of Aberdeen celebrates with team mates after scoring to give Aberdeen a 0-3 lead. Image: Shutterstock
Bojan Miovski of Aberdeen celebrates with team-mates after scoring to give Aberdeen a 3-0 lead against Hibs. Image: Shutterstock.

Incoming Aberdeen manager Jimmy Thelin will be boarding the plane from Sweden to Scotland with a spring in his step given the way the Dons are finishing the season.

There’s little doubt Peter Leven has got Aberdeen saving their best for last in the final week of the season.

Clean sheets are being racked up game after game, while the goals flowed at the other end as the Dons demolished Hibernian 4-0 at Easter Road on Sunday.

All four goals were fantastic. Aberdeen did not dominate the game, but when it came to being strong at the back and clinical at the other end, they showed both qualities brilliantly.

I know Hibs have been inconsistent, but fair play to Leven’s Reds – they were excellent when it mattered as a tough trip to the capital ended up being an afternoon to remember.

For Elfsborg boss Thelin, who is due to arrive at Pittodrie in the first week of June, the flowing attacking play and miserly defending must have put a huge smile on his face.

Jimmy Thelin will take charge of Aberdeen in June as things stand. Image: Alamy Live News.

From thinking he was taking charge of a club who have been struggling, he’ll now be feeling he has a base to build from if he can add some of his own players to the ranks in the close season.

The pessimism of a few months ago has certainly been replaced by genuine cause for optimism – and for that, stand-in manager Leven deserves enormous credit.

A week to remember for Fletcher Boyd

Aberdeen's Fletcher Boyd celebrates after scoring on his debut against Hibs. Image: SNS
Aberdeen’s Fletcher Boyd celebrates after scoring on his debut against Hibs. Image: SNS.

What a day it was for young Fletcher Boyd too.

In fact, what a week it has been for Aberdeen’s talented teenager, who has gone from helping his under-18 team win the Club Academy Scotland under-18 league title on Friday to scoring on his first-team debut 48 hours later.

The genuine joy on the senior players’ faces at seeing the 16 year-old cap a fairytale week with his first goal was great to watch as poor Boyd quickly found himself buried underneath a sea of Aberdeen players following his goal.

The smiles on the faces of the coaching staff on the sidelines said it all.

As is the case with any young player, I’m wary of piling pressure on their shoulders, but it is clear Boyd is a player who those in charge at the club have high hopes for.

If you are playing under-18 football every week before your 16th birthday, as has been the case for Boyd, then you are clearly a lad with a bright future.

Sunday was a great moment for the young Don, personally, but it was important for all of the young lads who have done so well in winning their league.

They’ve watched one of their team-mates make his mark at first-team level and they will all be itching for a chance to show they can make the grade, too.

As a motivational tool, it’s the sort of moment which is music to a coach’s ears.

Leighton Clarkson looks back to his best

It was great to see Leighton Clarkson looking like his old self, too, in Edinburgh as he capped a fine display with a fantastic strike for the opener.

It has been a tough season for the former Liverpool man, and it can’t be easy when Barry Robson, the man who signed him permanently, left the club in January.

Add in the managerial unrest which has followed, and it’s easy to see why younger guys in particular might be affected.

But Leven looks to have helped Clarkson get back playing with a smile on his face – here’s hoping he can keep it up and go into the summer on a high.

Ross County cup final awaits

Ross County got out of jail as they avoided further punishment following their 5-1 home defeat by Motherwell on Saturday.

A day to forget for the Staggies could have been even worse as St Johnstone led at Livingston.

But two second half goals from the relegated Livi ensured County still have their noses in front in the race to avoid the play-off berth.

It was a horrible afternoon for County as two former players, Blair Spittal and Harry Paton, were on the scoresheet to give their former manager Stuart Kettlewell a resounding win at Victoria Park.

I felt for Ross Laidlaw – he has been outstanding in recent weeks, but on Saturday he had one of those days where a couple of mistakes were punished.

But County got lucky thanks to the result from Livi, and it means they can go to Perth on Wednesday with the chance to secure their Premiership status at the Perth Saints’ expense.

It’s a cup final for County, who remain two points clear of Craig Levein’s side.

Both teams will be under huge pressure, but the Staggies know they are three points away from safety with a game to spare.

Room for improvement at Inverness

Celebrations after Billy Mckay's decisive goal for Inverness.
Celebrations after Billy Mckay’s decisive goal for Inverness. Image: SNS.

Caley Thistle should have enough to secure their Championship status this week, but it is vital they find another gear than what they showed in winning their play-off semi-final.

Inverness deserved to beat Montrose 1-0 on Saturday – but they did not dominate the game or create a lot of chances.

The first half was a lethargic, laboured showing, and poor Billy Mckay had to drop into midfield just to get on the ball.

The problem with that happening was that, when Billy turned towards goal, he only had Alex Samuel to aim for as he was not leading the line where he needed to be.

Duncan Ferguson clearly wasn’t happy with what he saw either in the first half, but the second half was a significant improvement in terms of Inverness carrying a goal threat.

But they’ll need more in the final against a Hamilton Accies side who I expect will be a much tougher nut to crack than the Gable Endies.

As a club, Accies have been there and done it in the play-offs and the first leg at New Douglas Park on Wednesday is vital.

I’m nervous at the prospect of Caley Thistle having to chase the game against Accies, and it’s crucial they get something from their trip to Hamilton.