A year ago Craig Bryson was hailed as Aberdeen’s premier signing of the summer. Today I find myself wondering where the veteran midfielder is going to fit into Derek McInnes’s squad.
Bryson is a fine player who returned to Scotland with a big reputation following an excellent spell at Derby County. But he has been so unlucky with injuries since moving to the Dons.
His manager has long been a huge admirer of Bryson and what he brings to the game, but following Ross McCrorie’s arrival I find myself questioning whether Bryson is going to get back into this Aberdeen side.
He will be 34 in two months’ time and I know when I was at the stage of my career he is coming to now that all those years of training and playing matches started to take their toll. I had so many niggling muscle injuries and it was so frustrating as all I wanted to do was get out on to the pitch and play.
Bryson’s task has become even tougher following the seamless arrival into the side of McCrorie. Bryson was the one hailed as the box-to-box player to replace Graeme Shinnie when he joined the Dons last year, but within two weeks of joining the club I’d say McCrorie has already established himself as the guy to fill the former Aberdeen captain’s shoes.
His energetic action-packed display was a huge part of the Dons’ 1-0 win at Hibernian on Sunday.
Aberdeen’s return to duty since the now infamous city-centre trip by eight players which led to the club being put into cold storage for a fortnight has been pretty near flawless.
Four wins, 10 goals scored and one conceded tells me all I need to know about the spirit and togetherness in the Pittodrie dressing room.
Sunday’s 1-0 win at Easter Road was undoubtedly the best of them all. Hibs were at home, second in the table and unbeaten. They had also been looking really strong offensively but the Dons restricted them to two chances of note.
I said last week I wondered if Marley Watkins’ arrival was a sign of a change of formation, but I was thinking in the final third, not in defence. However, the back three Derek has gone with for the last two games has been excellent.
Offensively, Derek’s side were terrific, especially in the first half, at Hibs too. They dominated the midfield and Watkins’ eager running created space for Ryan Hedges and Scott Wright to exploit.
It’s early days, but having escaped with little more than a slap on the wrist from the SFA for their protocol indiscretion on August 1, and judging by the strength in depth in this Dons squad, it’s shaping up to be an exciting campaign for the Reds.
Carl Tremarco has to rein it in for Ross County
Carl Tremarco should know better than to allow himself to be sent off in the manner he was in Ross County’s 1-0 loss at Livingston on Saturday.
Staggies goalkeeper Ross Laidlaw did the former Caley Thistle captain no favours with his poor throw out which led to Carl fouling Scott Pittman for his first caution in the game, but the second booking, for a foul on Nicky Devlin, was needless.
The full-back was running down the line after knocking the ball beyond Carl and he can have no complaints about clipping the Livi defender’s heels.
I know he is really keen to play his part, but it was a rush of blood moment from Carl, whose over-enthusiasm to stop the cross ultimately cost his side the game.
Maybe it’s the fact Carl has been in the Championship for the last three years, but he will have quickly learned players are that little bit quicker in the top flight in comparison to the second tier.
Next time I hope Carl will trust one of his team-mates to help him out if he is caught out in the way he was on Saturday. When you are already on a booking you have to use your head.
Ross County are not Celtic or Rangers; they are not a side equipped to cope with being at a numerical disadvantage. They need 11 men on the park at all times if they are to pick up points.
Strange return for Scotland
What a shame the famous Hampden Roar will not be heard when Scotland welcome Israel to the National Stadium on Friday.
I had hoped the opening game of the new Nations League campaign would have been used as a test case for Scottish football, but it seems we will have to wait for the domestic action to resume on September 12 before we see any fans back inside a stadium.
It’s a strange start for Steve Clarke’s side, who will face their semi-final opponents from the last Nations League campaign in the new season before the old one has been completed. That’s right, Israel will return to Hampden next month to play the semi-final of the previous contest, having just been here for the next one.
If I was Steve I’d be tempted not to show my hand on Friday.