Saints v Aberdeen preview
By Stuart Gillespie
Updated Monday, 11th January 2010
Let's try again, shall we? Why wait until the weather might be better in late February or early March when you can ask everyone to freeze to death by rescheduling a game for a lovely January evening.
With the temperature now soaring into positive numbers during the day, it is surely the time to be playing as many football matches as possible. Not as if a game can be postponed, rearranged for a week or so later, then postponed again. Oh wait, it can. Never mind, let's hope that fate doesn't befall this game tomorrow night - although it didn't take much snow to knock it out on Boxing Day.
Ignoring the weather problems, this game is coming at a reasonable time for us. We have no midweek game next week and are on what, for us, is a decent run of form - two wins in two games (even though one was against a lower league side). While giving confidence a rating of high would be pushing things, the mood has certainly lifted a bit since we were beaten by St. Johnstone the week before Christmas. However, Aberdeen at home is a completely different prospect to Alloa and Kilmarnock at Greenhill Road.
Our record against the Dons is, to put it mildly, woeful. We have managed just three draws and goals against them since we were promoted, and they seem to have a rather annoying knack of grabbing a late goal - even when we are winning. Maybe it all stems back to the first meeting with them following our promotion in 2006, where Kirk Broadfoot scored a late equaliser. Perhaps that was part of some deal that allowed them to score late goals whenever they felt like it against us, often denying us a point. They even did it in Paisley last year when it looked as if Craig Dargo had given us a rare win. I don't think it's pushing things to say they are our bogey team at the moment.
It'll be interesting to see what changes there are to the team that struggled to a win against Alloa on Saturday. Obviously Billy Mehmet will start, while Craig Dargo should keep his place alongside him. The rest is anyone's guess. Hugh Murray and David Barron are likely to return, the latter taking over from Steven Robb. Allan Johnston is likely to make way, as is Andy Dorman, who looked knackered on Saturday as he's only just back from injury. Assuming Robb also misses out, that means either Garry Brady or Stephen O'Donnell will be in the team - hardly inspiring based on their recent starts. John Potter and Mo Camara are still just short of fitness, with Chris Smith and Tom Brighton out long term.
Mark McGhee isn't much liked by Saints fans for his various antics and comments during his time at Motherwell but he's a bit of a legend at Aberdeen, having been part of the side that won the Cup Winner's Cup against Real Madrid in the 1980s. Considering the form of SPL sides in Europe this season, it's amazing to think a Scottish club managed a result like that within the last 30 years! McGhee has had a difficult start to his time in charge of the Dons, not helped by saying he'd rather be in charge of Celtic following his appointment!
He has handed a few young players their chance, the most impressive being Fraser Fyvie. The midfielder looks like a real talent, although he's also caused McGhee to open his big mouth again and say he won't be leaving for less than £10million. Aye, very good Mark. As well as Fyvie, we'll also need to watch out for Charlie Mulgrew, who is lethal from set-pieces and scored the only goal from a free-kick when we were at Pittodrie back in September. Lee Miller is a good striker and will cause us problems, while Sone Aluko could have fun running at Lee Mair after the former Aberdeen defender's performance on Saturday.