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Duncan Shearer: Patience needed for Barry Robson’s new-look Aberdeen

The Dons were poor in Paisley, but still managed to grind out a point against St Mirren.

Aberdeen manager Barry Robson.
Aberdeen manager Barry Robson. Image: SNS.

Aberdeen fans have to realise their side is far from the finished article, and I’m detecting a distinct lack of patience from some of the Red Army following the Dons’ 2-2 draw at St Mirren.

Barry Robson has brought in 12 players in this window and there will be further activity this week.

There’s a real international make-up of the squad and the new arrivals have come with varying levels of fitness and at different stages over the summer.

With so many new arrivals, all coming at different periods, it takes time for them to settle into their new surroundings and get to know their team-mates.

Those partnerships just don’t happen overnight.

Factor in four of the first five games being away from home and going from European competition in Sweden to Paisley in 72 hours for two high-tempo testing games and it all adds up to some early-season pressure being placed on the squad.

Robson was honest about Aberdeen’s Paisley display

The Dons boss did not try to pull the wool over the supporters’ eyes.

He said his team was a yard off the pace against St Mirren, and he won’t like people saying his side got out of jail thanks to Bojan Miovski’s injury-time penalty for the equaliser.

In fact, he will be downright raging inside about it all.

But he’s building a team who are very much in their infancy.

Let’s not do St Mirren a disservice either – they are a very good side in their own right and have become a formidable outfit on their own patch.

You have to go back to December 2020 for the last time the Dons avoided a league defeat in Paisley, and the home side went into Sunday’s game with three straight wins against the Dons on their own turf.

That is why, despite Saints’ early-season form and their performance against Aberdeen on Sunday, and the fact the Dons were poor, Barry can be pleased at seeing his players dig deep to rescue a point.

We’re in the early days of a long season and I’ve little doubt the Dons will improve in the weeks ahead.

Europa League group stage beckons for Aberdeen

For now though, all eyes are on Thursday’s huge Europa League play-off round second leg against BK Hacken at Pittodrie.

A stirring last half-hour earned the Dons a 2-2 draw in the first leg in Gothenburg last week and I was particularly pleased to see Nicky Devlin get the equaliser given his mistake on his home debut against Celtic.

Aberdeen’s Nicky Devlin celebrates after making it 2-2 against BK Hacken. Image: SNS.

I’m confident Aberdeen can complete the job and qualify for the group stage this week.

I’m sure Barry and the coaching staff will be confident, too, but it’s up to the players to perform when they step on to the pitch.

Playing in Europe was one of the major attractions for many of the new arrivals.

Thursday’s game, in front of a sold-out Pittodrie, is a chance to show how much that means to them.

Will Hibs be under new management at Pittodrie?

Hibernian sacked manager Lee Johnson on Sunday. Image: SNS.

Following Thursday’s game is the visit of Hibernian who could be under new management by the time they arrive at Pittodrie on Sunday.

Lee Johnson became the first managerial casualty of the new season when he was dismissed on Sunday.

I’m not surprised because Hibs seem to be anything but a stable environment. They have had eight different managers in the last 10 years – 11 if you add caretakers Jimmy Nicholl, Eddie May and David Gray to the list.

They’ll be hoping for a new manager bounce, but whoever gets the job needs time to build a squad there.

Time for Ross County to show what they have learned from tough opening fixtures

James Brown in action against Rangers. Image: PA.

Malky Mackay won’t say it, but Ross County have a chance to really get their season into gear now.

It has been a tough start for the Staggies after landing Celtic and Rangers in two of their three opening fixtures.

I was not surprised they lost both games – but they have put in a good shift in their two losing efforts.

I was at Saturday’s game against Rangers and Michael Beale’s side were very impressive as they ran out 2-0 winners.

Had Jordan White scored with his chance to reduce the arrears then perhaps County could have made it a grandstand finish, but I’m sure the game has been a great learning curve for the new players in the squad.

They may have two of their most taxing games out of the way early, however, they still have some challenging matches ahead and Saturday’s trip to Rugby Park to face Kilmarnock is another tough one.

Derek McInnes’ side has started the season well with victories over Rangers and Celtic in the league and cup, respectively.

If County can come back up the road with something for their efforts then I’m sure the Staggies boss will be delighted.

Transfer dealings will be crucial for Caley Thistle this week

Caley Thistle boss Billy Dodds, left, hopes to add to his squad this week. Image: SNS.

A huge week lies ahead for Caley Thistle.

Saturday’s 2-1 defeat at Airdrie continued the poor start for the club and I was interested by manager Billy Dodds’ comments that he needs some new faces on board.

That’s not a new statement – Doddsy has known his squad is light for three or four weeks.

The problem he has is that there won’t be too many players sitting in the house without a club waiting for Inverness to call.

The loan market seems the likely option for Caley Jags, and both Doddsy and sporting director John Robertson will need to use their contact list well to find guys to help the team out.

That came into play last night with the season-long loan signing of Dundee midfielder Max Anderson.

The manager seems to be switching David Carson from right-back to midfield from one game to the next, therefore taking in the former Scotland under-21 player makes sense.

Overall, there is some real potential at the club, however, it’s a young squad and one lacking the maturity to go the youngsters.

After a tough start they really need a vocal old head like Gary Warren or Ross Draper to galvanise them in the dressing room, but I don’t see those sort of characters right now.

If they could add one or two of that ilk this week it would go a long way to helping them kick a stuttering season into life.