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Duncan Shearer: Connor Barron knows better than to poke the Aberdeen fans

The Rangers midfielder is now guaranteed a hot reception on his return to Pittodrie after his naive jab at Dons supporters.

Connor Barron was unveiled as a Rangers player last week. Image: SNS
Connor Barron was unveiled as a Rangers player last week. Image: SNS

I fear Connor Barron will come to rue antagonising the Aberdeen support after claiming the jeers from the Red Army won’t affect him when he faces them as a Rangers player.

Barron’s “boo-boys won’t ruffle me” claim is all well and good, but I think he has made a poor error of judgement here.

More experienced players than him have felt the ire of the Dons fans in the past after making the move from Pittodrie to Ibrox.

All he needed to do was ask Ryan Jack – the former Dons captain got it in the neck big time whenever he returned to Pittodrie in a Rangers jersey and it DID affect his performances.

It was naïve on Barron’s part and all he has done is guarantee he is going to get a double-helping of abuse from the fans when the two sides come face to face again.

I played for Aberdeen, and I faced former Dons players in the Rangers line-up, so I know just how fierce the rivalry is.

Aberdeen’s Connor Barron and St Mirren’s Caolan Boyd-Munce in action. Image: SNS.

Even all these years later, I’d suggest you are best advised to focus on your football and not try to antagonise the fanbase of either side.

Had Barron focused on expressing his gratitude to the Dons for helping him progress and earn his move to Rangers, and left it there, I think the reception which will come his way would not have been so severe.

But I can guarantee the Dons fans will take his bullish stance of not being intimidated as a challenge to prove him wrong.

When it comes to the rivalry between Aberdeen and Rangers fans, I think this was a hornet’s nest best left unstirred.

Pre-season is vital for new Dons boss

I’m feeling a tinge of envy at seeing the Aberdeen players being put through their paces in Portugal by manager Jimmy Thelin and his coaching staff.

I used to love getting away for a training camp. The summer always felt like a time of fresh impetus with new team-mates coming in and a general feeling of optimism ahead of the new season.

Aberdeen manager Jimmy Thelin. Image: SNS.

Pre-season is a time for working hard, but also about bonding with each other.

For Thelin, it is a vital time as he seeks to get to know his squad better in his new job.

Trust me, as a manager, you find out a lot about the character of your players at this time of year.

Seeing all the Scottish clubs all well into their pre-season training preparations ahead of the new campaign has brought back some memories for me.

When I was a young lad, pre-season used to be akin to torture at times and the approach to some sessions was “run until you drop”.

But those days are long gone and they had already been phased out before I hung up my boots.

Close-season personal programmes were introduced before I stopped playing and it was in your best interests to follow them.

Most players did some work of their own anyway and would really step up their efforts to be ready for pre-season the week before returning to their clubs.

But today, with so much money on offer, if you can make it to the top of your profession, the mindset of players has totally changed, and they keep themselves in peak condition all year round.

It used to be the case you worked hard in pre-season and could earn a night off – and of course there were times when liberties were taken with a curfew here and there – but that whole environment has changed.

Bonding is now done in a different way. You can be social, but it doesn’t mean a few pints are required to relax.

I had a chuckle when I read Dons captain Graeme Shinnie recall one pre-season which involved orienteering in Forres with Caley Thistle under Terry Butcher and Maurice Malpas.

Aberdeen's Graeme Shinnie at full time after the 2-2 draw at Ross County. Image: SNS
Aberdeen’s Graeme Shinnie. Image: SNS.

I can confirm everything he said was true – as I was there.

We had players running about up in the hills of Forres with maps, and they didn’t have a clue what was going on!

It was hilarious, but behind that was a really testing workout for the players.

We had a barbecue on the go to ensure everyone was fed and I was more relieved not to be involved in the physical element.

I just enjoyed seeing everyone else working hard and enjoyed another burger which had been flipped diligently by Terry.

Patience with the players at Caley Thistle

Matthew Strachan in action for Caley Thistle at Clach. Image: Jason Hedges/DC Thomson.

I took a trip to Grant Street Park on Saturday to watch Caley Thistle beat Clach in their first pre-season friendly.

There was not much to be learned.

The grass was left long, which meant the pitch was not conducive to high tempo, passing football, but Duncan Ferguson will be pleased at a win and a clean sheet against a Lilywhites team who have added a lot of experience.

Adam Brooks took his goal well, but he also missed a few chances, and it is clear overall there is work to be done before the team is firing on all cylinders.

Patience is going to be required for this team to gel after an eventful summer of upheaval behind the scenes.

Relations between the Supporters’ Trust and the club have taken a turn and the appeal for more information from the club continues.

But from the size of the crowd at Clach on Saturday, it is clear the fans are prepared to get behind their team.